On Sunday afternoon Dylan Moses seemingly came out of nowhere with a commitment announcement to the Alabama Crimson Tide. While most knew Nick Saban and company had recruited him for several years, even dating back to his middle school days, the five-star prospect making a decision so soon into the season and so soon after then-top school LSU fired its coach took many by surprise.
It turns out Moses was ready to pledge to UA a week ago today during a phone call with his future position coach.
"I was talking to Tosh Lupoi and I was telling him that I was going to tell coach Saban that I was going to commit," Moses said. "He wasn’t surprised, I had been telling him I had interest in them and I just wanted to look around first, but he was ready for it."
The Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy standout, ranked within the Scout.com top 10 prospects in the United States, then went into the weekend's official visit ready to pull the trigger. He was nearly set to go the unconventional route in expressing it to the coaching staff, but withholding it from the public.
"I did go into it thinking I was going to commit to them, but I really wanted to wait and see how it went and how everything worked out with the coaches and the conversation," he said. "At first, I told him it was going to be a silent commit, but I changed my mind after I talked to my parents and decided to make it public. My dad was the one that told me to make it public because you don’t wanna play with anyone.
"You want to make sure everything is real and it’s what you want to do. If this is what you wanna do, you wanna commit, you wanna make it public and not play with your future like that. So moving forward, that’s how I wanted it to be."
Moses says he pulled the trigger Sunday morning while at Saban's lake house before his father, Edward, wanted the news public later in the day. Not on the trip to Tuscaloosa, he was told the commitment had already gone down and didn't want it to be kept under wraps.
"I told him if that's what he did and what he wanted, to make it official," Edward Moses said. "Do not lead any of the other coaches on...this is his senior year and he needs to be focused on the goal and the end."
Planning on graduating high school in December, the IMG star's father admits the accelerated portion of the process affects the decision two-fold.
"He is an early-enrollee, so when I look at how everything is playing out, I can see why he chose 'Bama," he said. "Les (Miles) is gone. LSU is in flux. (Texas head coach) Charlie (Strong) seems to be gone after the season. (Tom) Herman may be gone from Houston. (Florida State head coach) Jimbo (Fisher) is struggling at the moment.
"'Bama was the only logical choice out of all the schools that he was evaluating. So if he likes his decision, then I love it."
In addition to the conversation with his parents, time with the player Moses may well replace on the roster next year became critical as well. Senior linebacker Reuben Foster hosted the high school senior over the weekend and Saturday night, both before and after UA's win over Kentucky, was an integral component in the commitment.
"It was crazy to be with your idol on an official visit. Just listening to him talk...because I wasn’t really interested in anything else that was going on outside of that," he said. "I was really trying to ask questions and listen to everything he had to say. Being able to listen to him and have him tell you, ‘look, I want you to come to ‘Bama and play here and live on my legacy…’ basically get his number and take on his position.
"Basically for him to say that to me, that was a go-to. I knew right there, I’m committing the next morning. He helped seal the deal."
Once the coaching staff learned of the news, they followed up on what Foster said about Moses' future role.
"They said Reuben is about to leave for the draft after this year so they want me to fill his spot," he said. "So when I arrive there in January, as soon as I touch down they want me to start learning the position, the plays and be ready to take on that role."
Saban, Foster and more recently Lupoi, among others, had all combined for the effort to get one of the top outside linebacker prospect in the country on board and the trip effectively ended one of the longest individual recruitments in the modern era.
"I had a really good visit with ‘Bama," Moses said. "I had a good relationship built with them since I was in the eighth grade. Everyone knows that was the second school to offer me after LSU. Overall it was just a great visit, I enjoyed myself."
After the visit and the viral Tweet, he confirmed the process being shut down. He says he's not locked in on LSU's coaching search or considering additional visits to Baton Rouge or Austin or Miami or anywhere else. It was confirmed again Monday.
"I still feel good about it," he said. "I’m 100 percent going to ‘Bama."
Longstanding as the No. 2 program in the running for the Louisiana native, it was Auburn's win over LSU two Saturdays back which led to Miles' dismissal and the proverbial door to open. Through the Iron Bowl irony, persistence paid off and that door now seems closed for good.
"Now I get to play for Nick Saban, a great program, championship after championship," Moses said. "I get to be coached by the great coaches over there. I have the potential to win a championship every year, so I’m grateful."
Moses Testing at The Opening Finals: