Dante Moore has been a highly regarded prospect since walking onto the Detroit Martin Luther King field.
He just wasn’t always sure of himself.
As a freshman, Moore said he was nervous when the Crusaders lost in the state championship game.
He had a different mindset before leading Detroit MLK to the Division 3 state title this year.
“My confidence was really high going into the (state finals) game with my brothers,” Moore said.
Moore, widely considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the country, is named the Michigan Associated Press Division 3-4 Player of the Year after helping his team win 13 straight games to claim the state title after opening the season with a loss.
“I just thought he made really good decisions most of the time,” coach Tyrone Spencer said. “The confidence he had made our team better.”
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior threw for 3,050 yards and 40 touchdowns and just three interceptions. All that came despite the fact that two of the Crusaders wins came by forfeit. He has more than 7,000 career passing yards.
Moore also led King to a win over perennial powerhouse Cincinnati Moeller and a win over defending state champion DeWitt in the Division 3 state championship game. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 228 yards in the state finals.
Moore holds offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame, among others. He said the recruiting process is going “as planned.”
“I’m blessed that I am experiencing it,” he said.
Spencer said some of his confidence came when he went out on the camp circuit between his sophomore and junior seasons.
“He went to a lot of elite camps, and I think he grew during that time,” Spencer said. “He’s older and more mature now.”
Moore is joined by six teammates on the All-State team: defensive backs Terrance Brown and Jameel Croft Jr., linebacker Blake Bailiff, lineman Kenny Merrieweather and Jonathan Slack and wide receiver Lynn Wyche-El.
The other quarterback on the team is Tyler Holtz of DeWitt. The running backs are Chelsea’s Trent Hill, Christian Stokes of Harper Woods, Julion McCray of Battle Creek Harper Creek and Mount Pleasant’s Max Humphrey. Tommy McInthosh of DeWitt, Tay’Shawn Trent of Harper Woods, Chelsea’s Lucas Hanifan and Andon Grigg of Holland are the other wide receivers.
Hanifan caught five touchdown passes in the state finals, an MHSAA record. Trent caught 13 touchdown passes and holds offers from several Power 5 schools.
The lineman on the first team are Davonte Miles of River Rouge, Russell Sullivan of Chelsea, Connor Williamson of Mason, Matt Lyons of Croswell-Lexington, Ryan Shinaberry of Hudsonville Unity Christian, Alex Schlemm of Marquette and Brady Ploucha of Dearborn Divine Child.
Tag Bonneman of Zeeland East, William Gaskell of Milan, Nick Flegler of DeWitt and Bailiff are the linebackers. The other defensive backs are Myles Walton of Muskegon and Alex Duley of Freeland.
Paige Westra of Zeeland East is the All-State kicker and Nick Collins of East Grand Rapids is the punter. Milan’s Cole McElvany made the team as a specialist after rushing and passing for 1,000 yards.
The Coach of the Year is Josh Lucas of Chelsea, who won the Division 4 state title.