The Louisville football recruiting class for 2023, already ranked among the best in the country, got a seismic jolt Tuesday, as wide receiver DeAndre Moore Jr. told ESPN that he is committing to the Cardinals.
Moore is ranked as the No. 17 overall player and No. 2 wide receiver in the Class of 2023.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Moore is the highest-rated player Louisville has signed in the ESPN 300 era, which began in 2006. Prior to the ESPN 300, Louisville signed highly regarded local players Michael Bush in 2003 and Brian Brohm in 2004.
Louisville's class is on a trajectory to be a landmark one for the school. Moore is the Cardinals' sixth ESPN 300 commitment, bolstering a class that ranks No. 6 nationally and No. 1 in the ACC. Louisville had six ESPN 300 commitments in its past five combined recruiting classes.
"We can build something there," Moore told ESPN. "I can build something there with my family, my boys from California. We can get some more boys from out of state. We want to build this up and get Louisville back where it should be."
In the ESPN recruiting era, the highest a Louisville class has finished was No. 21 overall, in 2006. That was long enough ago that current Louisville director of recruiting Pete Nochta was a signee in that class.
Moore credited staff members like Nochta, coach Scott Satterfield and offensive coordinator Lance Taylor for fostering a family atmosphere in the program. He said on one of his two visits to the school, he went bowling and Taylor brought his wife, Jamie, and their two children. He said Satterfield's wife, Beth, knew everything about Moore and his family when they met her.
"A lot of people try and sell you on family, but Louisville is that," Moore said. "I'm a people person. I react off of other people's energy and how you treat me. From the jump, it was great energy."
Moore credited Louisville quarterback commitment Pierce Clarkson, a 2023 ESPN 300 commit out of St. John Bosco High School in Southern California, for starting the trend of West Coast players picking the Cardinals. Moore said he is going to start recruiting hard for Louisville and is "coming after" Rueben Owens, a top-30 tailback from Texas, and Kyle Parker, a wide receiver from Texas with a strong offer sheet.
"Pierce started it off," Moore said. "We're continuing to build something, especially with the California talent. I'm going to do my fair share of recruiting as well. Me and Pierce are going to be a tag-team recruiting duo."
Five of Louisville's 10 commitments in the Class of 2023 are from California, which is one of the few states where athletes can profit off their name, image and likeness while still in high school.
Moore said he sees great potential in Louisville -- both the university and city -- for NIL deals, but added that was a "small factor, not the main factor" in why he picked the Cardinals.
"The biggest thing going to Louisville for me was a place I'm comfortable at and a place where they allow me to be myself," he said. "That was the biggest thing for me. They have a great NIL program and they are 1,000 percent behind it and 1,000 percent behind supporting athletes, but I saw something outside of that."
The biggest surprise in Moore choosing Louisville was that he didn't go to USC. He transferred before last season to play at Los Alamitos with USC commitment Malachi Nelson, the No. 2 quarterback recruit in the country for 2023. Moore previously committed to Oklahoma when Lincoln Riley coached there and said everyone at his high school thought he was going to USC or Texas.
"Don't get me wrong, I committed to the [USC] coaching staff once before and was comfortable there," Moore said. "But it's a new time right now. Louisville is where I'm at."