The University of Louisville football team has formally begun its recruiting run at one of the city’s best rising seniors, and the Cardinals figure to be serious contenders in the race to land him.
Three-star Trinity High School slot receiver Rondale Moore, whose playoff production helped the Shamrocks to the Class 6-A state title, received a scholarship offer from the hometown Cardinals on Sunday – his eighth offer in all.
U of L has been recruiting the 5-foot-8, 170-pound Moore, a transfer from New Albany High School, since last summer, including during his standout performance at U of L’s July elite camp, which was loaded with Louisville offer-holders.
“The Louisville offer was definitely one that Rondale had been wanting big-time,” his personal trainer Chris Vaughn said. “He grew up a Louisville fan.”
Moore is the No. 88 wide receiver nationally and No. 4 prospect in Kentucky in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings. After his transfer, Moore wasn’t ruled eligible for Trinity until the second round of the playoffs, but he ended up making 20 catches for 464 yards (23.2 yards per reception) and nine touchdowns in only four games.
Vaughn said he felt Moore was good enough at U of L’s camps to warrant an offer last summer, but Vaughn said the Cards’ coaches wanted to evaluate him during his junior year. Because he wasn’t eligible to play until near the end of the season, that prolonged the process, Vaughn said.
Moore’s other offers are from Kentucky, which was the first to offer, Indiana, Illinois, Central Michigan, Purdue, Western Kentucky and Columbia. A speedy slot receiver who is tough to tackle in open space, Moore ran the 40-yard dash at IU’s camp in 4.38 seconds, Vaughn has said.
Moore said last summer that his relatives were U of L fans during his childhood and that U of L would be one of his top options if he were to get an offer. Moore took multiple visits to U of L last football season and visited again for a recent basketball game.
“I always grew up watching Louisville basketball, football, baseball,” he said last summer. “That was one of the teams we liked as a family. I think they run a really nice offense. I go to Trinity. (Outgoing U of L senior and former Shamrocks receiver) James Quick goes there. Obviously, they like the quick guys. They catch a lot of balls, and they like to get it out and go.”
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Vaughn said he expects Moore to wait until after the summer to make a college decision, after going through the camp circuit another time. Vaughn mentioned Notre Dame, Auburn, Georgia, North Carolina and Duke as others that have expressed interest in Moore, but given that his junior highlight film consisted of only four games, many teams want to evaluate, measure and time him in person. With regard to UNC, Vaughn said Moore has drawn comparisons to similarly sized standout Tar Heels slot receiver Ryan Switzer.
Even if Moore adds offers from some powerhouse programs, Vaughn said he still expects “Louisville to be a major player with him until the end.” Vaughn said he thinks Moore’s relationship with the Cards’ staff will develop more rapidly now that he has an offer and has been told he’s a priority. Vaughn expects Moore to visit U of L for a junior day soon, though Moore doesn’t have a schedule set for any spring visits right now.
Moore is the fourth Kentuckian in the 2018 class to receive a U of L offer, along with (in order of their 247Sports composite state ranking) four-star Waggener cornerback Jairus Brents, four-star Waggener defensive lineman Tahj Rice and three-star Bowling Green outside linebacker Justice Dingle. Brents, Rice and four-star 2019 Trinity defensive end Stephen Herron, who is also a top U of L target, all also train with Vaughn.
Vaughn said U of L’s staff has made weekly visits to Waggener and Trinity since the start of the recent contact period and that the Cards are also showing regular interest in Brents, Rice and Herron. Vaughn said defensive line coach L.D. Scott has been doing a “great job” as a primary recruiter.
“They’re all hometown kids, and Louisville is definitely turning into a program that’s on the rise and making serious contention for ACC championships,” Vaughn said. “So those guys (at U of L) are going to be a player (with the local recruits).”
As for Rice, U of L signed only one defensive lineman in the 2017 class, and coach Bobby Petrino said the defensive line would be a priority position in 2018. Vaughn said Scott reiterated that message to Vaughn when they talked over the weekend. The 6-foot-3 Rice, who is up to 301 pounds, is rated the No. 179 prospect nationally in 2018 by 247Sports. Louisville was his first offer, last April, and Duke, NC State, Boston College, Purdue, Indiana and Syracuse are some of the other power-conference schools to follow suit.
“Tajh is going to be huge priority for (the Cards), with them needing defensive linemen and him being a kid in the city and kind of right here in their backyard,” Vaughn said.