When Quintin “Moe” Moore called me Sunday, there were still eight trucks backed up to the house. The fish was mostly eaten, but the celebration was still going.
Joshua and Jordan Moore’s dad had a Father’s Day stuffed with emotions. He’d mourned and rejoiced in one afternoon.
Husker football fans shared in the joy: Joshua Moore, a four-star wide receiver and national top 100 prospect from Yoakum, Texas, announced on Twitter his commitment to Nebraska. His dad knew he would pick the Huskers. He saw the smile on Joshua’s face over the last two months when Nebraska came up in conversation, and his son couldn’t stop talking about NU wide receivers coach Keith Williams.
Plus, Quintin knows his son wants to “venture out.” Jordan, Joshua’s twin brother, is more of a homebody.
“I knew Josh was going to leave the state,” Quintin said. “He wants the best of the best, and he was going to go wherever he thought was the best of the best.”
Nebraska it is, although, with a player of Joshua’s talent, the recruiting race isn’t quite over until at least December signing day.
It may not be over for Jordan, either.
Quintin expects both sons to be at Nebraska’s Friday Night Lights camp and the following Big Red Weekend. Jordan is committed to nearby Texas A&M and likes the program a lot, Quintin said. But these are, after all, twins. Quintin has two pairs of them, so he’s a bit of an expert on how they interact. For the few months Joshua was training and going to school at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, he and Jordan talked constantly. They connected through video games, particularly.
The father is glad Joshua will play his senior year at Yoakum.
“There’s something about those twins,” Quintin said with a laugh.
There was something about Bubba, too. That’s the nickname of Quintin’s son, who was also named Quintin. Most family and friends around Yoakum called him Bubba, though. He was 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, and he was just about the most important person in Joshua and Jordan Moore’s life. He was their older brother.
Bubba died four years ago in a suicide. Joshua Moore’s video tribute Sunday was dedicated to his memory; Joshua revealed he was committing to Nebraska at Quintin’s gravesite.
Joshua posted that video at 3 on Sunday. At 1 on Sunday, the Moores’ extended family held a remembrance service for Quintin inside Oak Grove Cemetery. They set up a tent at the gravesite and listened to a short message from a preacher. They mourned the deep loss of someone who usually had a smile on his face and two younger brothers hanging from his arms.
The Moores’ house is out in the country, about seven-tenths of a mile off a main road, and, before Joshua and Jordan saw their older brother, they could hear the stereo booming inside his 1985 pearl white box Chevy Caprice driving toward the house.
“Bubba’s home!” the brothers would say.
The elder Moore said Joshua and Jordan each loved Quintin equally, but in slightly different ways. When they played video games, Jordan wanted to beat his older brother; Joshua kind of wanted his older brother to beat Jordan. When Quintin bent some opponent’s face mask on the football field, it was Joshua who kept saying, “That’s Bubba!”
When Bubba died, Quintin wondered if Jordan and Joshua would stop the pursuit of their football dreams or grind even harder. They chose the latter. The twins pushed each other; maybe that was the key to their success. But each June is a “hard month,” Quintin said. The father played at Yoakum. Bubba played at Yoakum. Joshua and Jordan do now. Their younger brother — who’s also a competitive roper — almost certainly will, as well.
At the service, family members tried to get Joshua to announce his college pick. He stuck to his word: 3 p.m.
So everybody found out right when you did.
When the video was released, the family was already in the midst of a fish fry. Joshua was sitting on the back of his dad’s Ford truck, his phone buzzing with every Twitter mention, text and note imaginable.
As Quintin told me that story, I was reminded of Joshua’s story of how he met Keith Williams — the Husker coach sent him a Twitter direct message right after he got done fishing on the family pond, which has crappie, perch, bass and blue catfish. Quintin hasn’t been to Nebraska; he’ll visit during Joshua’s official visit. But those stories could be any Sunday afternoon in Dawson County. Or Thayer County. Or Holt County.
You have to be smart not to overhype commits. I try not to do that, especially so many months before signing day. Still, getting Joshua Moore is a great win for Nebraska. He’s one of those distinctive athletes I’ve written about before. The kind NU needs.
Watch Kearney Catholic QB
Nebraska’s most recent Friday Night Lights camp was forced inside because of stormy weather, but kudos to the Husker staff — specifically director of operations Dan Van De Riet — for having such a seamless contingency plan. From the time we left Memorial Stadium, it was perhaps 10 minutes before the camp started again in the Hawks Championship Center. Nothing got derailed.
Two quarterbacks — Council Bluffs Lewis Central’s Max Duggan and Kearney Catholic’s Matt Masker — didn’t miss much of a beat.
Duggan, one of NU’s top targets in the 2019 class, has a live arm — he throws hard, sometimes high — but he showed lovely touch on deep passes. He’s a high-end Power Five Conference prospect. Iowa and Iowa State want him a lot; Nebraska has joined the battle. He might be the best in-state quarterback to come out of Iowa since, well, Bret Meyer?
Masker, a 2018 prospect, is a little shorter than Duggan, but he throws the ball well. He has a fluid motion and throws with pace, before a receiver finishes his break. I know it’s a camp setting, but I’ve watched a lot of in-state quarterbacks throw in recent years — scholarship guys and walk-ons alike. Masker, at least in a camp, threw as well as or better than any of them. In some cases, Masker is well ahead of quarterbacks you’d heard much more about before their senior years. If he doesn’t go FCS, he’s going to walk on at some FBS program and make some coach pretty happy.
Our Super Six is pretty close to set because there are so many FBS scholarship guys in the state. Two of them — Cam Jurgens and Masry Mapieu — are committed to Nebraska already. But Masker, without even an FCS offer to this point, may belong in that top six. If he played Class A in Omaha — say, at Bellevue West or Omaha North — I don’t think there’d be much question about how good he is.
Bits and pieces
» Eric Fuller is no longer a part of Nebraska’s recruiting class. This isn’t exactly a revelation to recruiting analysts, several of whom finally announced the news on Monday, including Scout’s Greg Biggins, the top guy on the ground in Los Angeles. Nebraska’s athletic department confirmed NU is no longer recruiting Fuller. The NCAA allows a school to confirm it is or is not recruiting a student-athlete. Fuller, for personal reasons, is unlikely to be a part of any school’s 2018 recruiting class. The World-Herald started making inquiries on Fuller’s status last week. His former high school football coach, Mil’Von James, said Fuller was “M.I.A.,” and didn’t know his whereabouts. James, who also coached top 2017 NU target Joseph Lewis, was let go from Los Angeles Hawkins in February. He’s since taken a job as an assistant at a private school in the area.
» Nebraska will have at least one five-star prospect for the Friday Night Lights camp — defensive end/linebacker Micah Parsons of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who was committed to Penn State for some time before backing off. Another linebacker, Owen Pappoe of Loganville, Georgia, is a top 100 prospect for 2019. The Huskers have an “in” here: Pappoe plays for Grayson High School, alma mater of NU linebacker Mohamed Barry. And former Husker Eric Johnson is a trainer in the Atlanta area. Pappoe announced his top 10 via Twitter in May, and Nebraska was in that group.
» Nebraska had 2018 offensive tackle Chris Bleich high on its list of targets, but the 6-foot-6, 305-pound athlete — who visited for NU’s spring game — committed Monday night to UCLA via Twitter.
Bleich, from Plymouth, Pennsylvania, had been a heavy favorite to commit to Nebraska, in part because he spent a year at IMG Academy with current Husker Broc Bando. Bleich was among NU’s top priorities at tackle.