Dante Moore is Oregon's and the sky can fall elsewhere: The I-5 traffic report
On Oregon's new star quarterback, the surging Seattle Mariners and a former Oregonian columnist's dispatches from Wimbledon.
PORTLAND – Five-star quarterback Dante Moore committed to Oregon on Friday.
You likely already know that. If not, congratulations, your Ducks got a good one.
Moore is the top-rated quarterback to ever commit to Oregon and the fifth-highest rated player to agree to come to Eugene. After a spring where Dan Lanning and his staff nibbled around the edges of making national recruiting headlines — think Josh Conerly Jr. back in April — the Ducks firmly planted themselves in the thick of everything by landing the best quarterback left on the board.
For a weekend, the sky fell elsewhere. From Yahoo! Sports, on the failure of a Big Ten program like Michigan to land a top in-state product:
Moore has no ties to Oregon and the campus is 2,400 miles or at least two commercial flights away. The Ducks’ conference, the Pac-12, could be split apart by 2024. Their rookie head man, Dan Lanning, while charismatic and coming off a run as an assistant for national champion Georgia, has yet to coach a game.
Maybe you lose Dante Moore to Alabama. Or defending champ Georgia. Or even Notre Dame, who once looked like the leader. But Oregon? By the end, Michigan seemed like an afterthought and that was before Moore cited his “relationships” with the new Duck coaching staff and his belief they would prepare him best as a player.
Oregon’s recruiting has rattled off milestones over the last five years. Penei Sewell proved Oregon could land the same elite offensive tackle Alabama wanted. Kayvon Thibodaux showed Oregon could take the best defensive end in the country out of USC’s backyard. Getting three five-stars in Noah Sewell, Justin Flowe and Dontae Manning for the 2020 class was simply a heat check.
Under Mario Cristobal, Oregon recruited like it never had before. It became an identity.
We already know Lanning can recruit. But, there’s something about the timing of this Moore commit that just hits differently than some of those in the past. At a time when the foundation shakes across campuses everywhere on the West Coast, a quarterback who could go anywhere chose to find safe harbor inside the Hatfield Dowlin-Complex.
“Coach Lanning is going to be a great head coach, because he knows what it takes to get to a national championship…,” Moore said after committing on SportsCenter. He went on to mention his comfort with Kenny Dillingham’s offense and the playmakers the Ducks have at the skill positions. “It will be great for me in the future.”
With USC and UCLA heading to the Big Ten, Oregon's direct future is a little less certain. But Moore’s commitment means UO is still a viable destination despite its ultimate landing ground. Other players will follow Moore here. These things domino.
Michigan Twitter seems to think that Moore must have gotten a bag from Oregon. That’s the only way a school like UM, which offered Moore in seventh grade, could lose out on the hometown kid to those hippies in Eugene.
And if that’s the case: that works too. Because sports these days are about money, and if someone is still willing to pay it on behalf of Oregon, the Ducks are going to be just fine.
A surge in Seattle
Last time we checked in with the Mariners, things weren’t looking too hot for the ball club:
The Mariners, a trendy pick to make the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, dropped three of four games to Anaheim over the weekend to fall 10 games below .500. Manager Scott Servais is likely going to be the first one to take the fall for this, when it’s becoming increasingly apparent the blame should stand with ownership.
That came from the June 20 edition of our traffic report. Since then? Seattle’s won 16 of its last 19 games, shooting back up past .500 and well into the thick of the American League Wild Card race. The M’s would be wise to take advantage of the lowly Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers over the next two series, because the month of July closes with seven games against the AL West-leading Houston Astros and August opens with three games in New York against the best-in-baseball Yankees.
Credit to general manager Jerry Dipoto: Picking up Carlos Santana is proving to be a great move that will continue to benefit the depth of the lineup once Ty France returns from injury. And while former can’t-miss prospect Jarred Kelenic appears to have some miss in him, it looks like Seattle knocked it out of the Kingdome with Julio Rodriguez. It seems to be just about every day there’s some new stat being thrown around that compares him to Barry Bonds and Micky Mantle.
Here’s the latest, from recurring I-5 Corridor guest Corey Brock of The Athletic: After being named an All-Star on Sunday, Rodriguez joins Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. as the only three players in franchise history to be named to the all-star team in their age-21 season or younger.
That’s decent company.
Where in the World is Chuck Culpepper?
Pour one out for great writing: Chuck Culpepper’s annual Wimbledon coverage for the Washington Post concluded for the year on Sunday with this epic tale of Novak Djockovic’s four-set win over Nick Kyrgios.
I wish I had the time to read as much sports writing as I used to, but Culpepper’s coverage, whether he’s at the Super Bowl or Olympics or writing some random story about a farmhouse outside the Final Four, remains appointment reading.
The former Oregonian columnist is a wizard with gamers. Sure, features and profiles and books ultimately earn more cache in the Big J world, but I respect the hell out of someone who can attend an event and write something interesting on deadline for a game a lot of people already watched.
There’s nobody better in the world at it than Culpepper. I particularly enjoyed this section of his story on Djokovic’s championship win over the eclectic Kyrgios.
Culpepper on Djokovic’s composure:
It solved Kyrgios’s tactics, which include the occasional 125-mph second serve, the shots through his legs, the (one) underhand serve, the unpredictability with the grab bag of shots and just the damned noise of the 27-year-old Australian. It solved Kyrgios’s antics, which included yammering ad nauseam to his team in the stands and with the chair umpire over matters such as a yelping woman in the stands Kyrgios perceived to be well into her corks.
“I’ve been on a couple of nights out in my life,” Kyrgios said to a roomful of laughs, “and I knew she had too many.”
Well into her corks. That’s good stuff.
Have a good week everyone. Throw on some sunscreen if you’re heading over to Hayward for the World Championships later this week. It’s going to be toasty.
— Tyson Alger
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