There is not much standing between five-star freshman quarterback Dante Moore and being the starting quarterback for UCLA. Mostly, head coach Chip Kelly said, the obstacle for young guys to get on the field is their own immaturity.
But that’s not an issue for Moore. Since enrolling early ahead of spring practice, Kelly has been most impressed with the fact that his freshman quarterback doesn’t really seem to be a freshman.
“Because there’s a maturity. And it’s a race to maturity in terms of being able to play as a young guy,” Kelly said. “It’s really the mature guys that can handle it. And I think maybe from his experience and what he did, played at a pretty high-profile high school. Played in a lot of all-star games and has been around and traveled around a little bit. But I think he’s handled it all really, really well.”
Moore comes to UCLA with as much pomp and circumstance as any player in recent memory. A five-star-plus recruit according to the On3 Industry Ranking, Moore was the No. 3 player in the 2023 signing class and was the No. 2 quarterback.
And even with an elite high school pedigree, Kelly knows the high school-to-college transition can throw even the most mature 18 year olds for a loop. But Moore has been a picture of responsibility.
“You always — not worry — but you’re concerned with kids that come in early. One day they’re in the hot lunch line at their high school. The next day they’re on a college campus playing football. It’s a unique transition for those guys. But they’ve handled it really well. And I think what will be really beneficial for them is when the new group comes in in June and they’ve been here and done that. They’ve been here since January,” Kelly said.
Ultimately, Kelly struggled to find a better compliment for the freshman — and really, the freshmen — who arrived early than they don’t seem to be just that.
“So, they don’t act like freshmen. And I that’s a good thing, I say that in a complimentary way. They know their way around, they know what their doing. They know our routines. They know how to get treatment. They know how everything works around here. They’ve been tremendous. The best thing you can say about those guys is they don’t act like freshmen, they act like they’ve been here for a while,” Kelly said.
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