Quarterback Clayton Moore is a marketing campaign waiting to happen at the University of Akron.
He certainly has the name for it. Time will tell if he has the game for it.
Older fans or television devotees might have already figured this one out.
Moore, 20, a sophomore transfer from Louisville, Miss., shares the same first and last name as the actor who played the lead role in The Lone Ranger, a hit TV show that ran from 1949 through 1957.
Moore, the quarterback, initially heard the connection in high school and didn't understand it.
''Someone in the paper called me 'The Lone Ranger,' and it was the first time I had ever heard it. I had to ask my parents what it meant,'' Moore said. ''I wasn't named for him. I was named after my father, John Clayton Moore.''
If Moore should prosper as a Zips quarterback now or in the future, the promotional possibilities are endless. It would be easy to imagine Moore wearing a mask, riding a white stallion and saying, ''Hi-ho, Zippy. Away.''
Moore certainly has grown accustomed to the references.
''I think it is kind of cool that people call me that,'' he said. ''It doesn't bother me at all. It's kind of catchy.''
Of course, all that is putting the cast before the horse because the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Moore has yet to take a snap for the Zips.
But it is obvious that second-year UA coach Rob Ianello is high on Moore, who is working with the second unit in spring practice behind returning starter Patrick Nicely.
''We like a lot of things about Clayton as a quarterback and as a leader,'' said Ianello, whose team is headed into its final week of spring practice. ''He gets better every day. It looks like he is having fun out there and that he is progressing.''
Moore has taken a circuitous path to joining the Zips after a spectacular prep career in Mississippi that concluded prematurely and in controversy.
That ending changed his college plans abruptly and ultimately meant that Moore is now a member of his third team in three years.
That didn't seem likely back in 2007 when, as a junior, he led Louisville to a Class 3A state championship. He threw for 3,036 yards and 30 touchdowns and ran for 811 yards and 10 touchdowns.
That caught the attention of college recruiters, and the offers from major schools started arriving. He made a series of official visits and narrowed the field to Mississippi, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Southern Mississippi.
In June 2008, he orally committed to his home-state team, the Ole Miss Rebels.
But he went from scholarship player to walk-on at Mississippi after an altercation with his high school coach, Brad Peterson, in a state semifinal during his senior year in 2008.
Playing against Aberdeen in what was to become a 41-21 victory for Louisville, Moore called an audible just before halftime that Peterson did not like. That led to a sideline argument between the two, and, right then and on the spot, to Moore's dismissal from the team.
Peterson did not return a phone call seeking comment on the past incident. But he had this to say to Mississippi reporters after the game: ''He's no longer on the team. There was an altercation on the sidelines. He was dismissed from the sidelines with three minutes left in the half and did not return. That was my decision. We had to look at what was best for the team.''
Moore said he tried to return the next day, but Peterson told him his decision was final. Moore then watched on television as Louisville won its second consecutive state title the following weekend.
''I live by the motto now that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. That's something that applies to me more than some,'' said Moore, who passed for 1,402 yards and 19 touchdowns and ran for 526 yards and two touchdowns in an injury-plagued senior year. ''What happened is in the past. I don't touch on it much.
''It was all a misunderstanding, something that happens between a coach and player. If I could go back and change it, I would. But I can't. What it did was make me a better person and better leader.''
After Moore's dismissal, Mississippi pulled its scholarship offer in December 2008 but said he could join the team and pay his own way as a freshman. He then made a series of phone calls that were fruitless.
''Ole Miss got wind of it and called my coach and he said whatever he said. They pulled their scholarship,'' Moore said. ''I figured it was no big deal; I would just go to the other places that offered me. I called five or six schools, but they all said they had their quarterbacks.
''I had some smaller options, but I was confident enough in my game so I decided to walk on.''
In 2009, he was the scout team quarterback at Mississippi but did not appear in a game. After the season, Rebels coach Houston Nutt told Moore he could remain with the team as a sophomore but would once again not be on scholarship.
Moore decided to transfer to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for the 2010 season — and the results were spectacular.
Moore quickly earned the starting job and led the Bulldogs to the state championship in a state known for producing quality junior-college players and teams. He completed 155-of-257 passes for 2,395 yards and 23 touchdowns.
''We were blessed to have Clayton. He did a tremendous job from the moment he set foot on campus,'' Gulf Coast coach Steve Campbell said. ''He was a hard worker and was a leader of our football team.
''He can make all the throws and he can beat you with his feet.''
More important, to Campbell, was Moore's conduct and attitude.
''His high school coach is one of my best friends, so before we took Clayton, I had a real good visit with Brad,'' Campbell said. ''Brad said that he had his maturity issues, ones that almost everybody goes through. Clayton was wonderful for us. He matured and was a great team leader.''
Moore then let it be known that he wanted to play for a four-year school in 2011, and teams started to recruit him again.
Zips take notice
The Zips heard about it and responded quickly since 2010 backup quarterback Matt Rodgers had graduated and decided not to return for his final year of eligibility.
''Once Matt wasn't coming back, we did a search to get an older quarterback. We looked at a couple guys in California, a couple in Mississippi,'' Ianello said. ''We zeroed in on Clayton.''
Moore was driving home from school in early December when he received a phone call from Ron Powlus, the former Notre Dame standout who is now the Zips' passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
''He told me who he was, and I was interested right away. I remembered him from when he was at Notre Dame,'' Moore said. ''I knew what he had accomplished as a quarterback, and I thought it might be interesting to play for him.''
The Zips coaches had viewed tapes of Moore, and then had a chance to meet him in Mississippi.
''I remembered him when he was coming out of high school. I knew he was a good football player,'' Powlus said. ''I had the chance to see him practice, and I saw he had qualities you want in a quarterback. He had good feet; he could move around. He could throw the ball with accuracy and I liked his personality on the field.''
Moore later made an official visit to UA. In the third week of December, Ianello traveled to Moore's hometown and went to dinner with members of Moore's immediate family.
It was a long, long dinner full of questions and answers.
''We really wanted him. Anybody who would have anything to do with the decision was there,'' Ianello said. ''I stayed. I wasn't going to leave until midnight, if that is what it took.''
Ianello got his message across because the next day, during the signing period for junior-college players, Moore faxed his letter of intent, picking the Zips over Wyoming and Louisiana-Lafayette.
''I did some research on Akron and liked what I saw. There were a bunch of things I liked. But the main thing, I just felt it was right,'' Moore said. ''It's hard to explain. I had other offers, but they didn't feel right. This felt right.''
Moore then enrolled in school in January and began learning a whole new offense. He played in the spread at Louisville and Gulf Coast, but he is part of the Zips' pro-style offense now.
''It is different than what I am accustomed to. At the same time, this is what I signed up for. I wanted to play in a pro-style offense,'' Moore said. ''I think you are an actual quarterback in this offense. You are in total control. I love it.''
Moore will be competing with Nicely for playing time in the fall. Success might or might not bring the opportunity to gain some fame through The Lone Ranger connection.
The generational gap was evident when Moore was asked how many times he has watched the old television show.
''I have never seen it,'' Moore said. ''I have only seen clips of it on YouTube.''