Former USC quarterback Jaxson Dart will transfer to Ole Miss, according to 247Sports’ Chris Hummer. Dart, who started three games for the Trojans as a true freshman in 2021, will have three years of eligibility remaining in Oxford. Additionally, ESPN’s Chris Low reports former USC tight end Michael Trigg will join Dart in transferring from L.A. to Ole Miss. Trigg, a former top-150 recruit, caught seven passes for 109 yards receiving and a touchdown as a true freshman.
Dart completes the transfer following an injury-plagued season in which he missed time with a torn meniscus, though he still completed 61.9% of his passes for 1,353 yards passing, nine touchdowns and five interceptions. He threw for four touchdowns and 391 yards in his first major action against Washington State on Sept. 18.
The Kaysville, Utah, product ranked as a top-10 quarterback recruit in the 2021 class and was the No. 69 prospect overall. The 247Sports Transfer Portal rankings slotted Dart as its No. 3 overall player, trailing only fellow quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Quinn Ewers, the latter of which transferred to Texas from Ohio State. Williams has not yet selected a transfer destination, though he has multiple options.
Dart is a major addition for Ole Miss as it looks to replace All-SEC quarterback Matt Corral, a projected first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Corral led the Rebels to their first ever 10-win regular season season and a berth in the Sugar Bowl. However, Corral suffered an injury early against No. 7 Baylor and was unable to finish the game.
Dart will compete with fellow 2021 recruit Luke Altmyer for the starting job. Altmyer completed 15 of 28 passes for 174 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the 21-7 Sugar Bowl loss to the Bears.
Joining a QB guru
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has a long history of developing quarterbacks into prolific passers, and Dart follows Corral as another talented quarterback for Kiffin in Oxford. ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports that Ole Miss’ wide-open offense was one of the top draws for Dart’s decision.
Corral completed just 59% of his passes as a junior, but in his final two seasons under Kiffin, his average completion percentage jumped to 69.2%, and he threw for 6,686 yards, 49 touchdowns and 9.4 yards per pass attempt. Dart has the arm talent to similarly thrive under Kiffin’s tutelage.
Big loss for USC
New Trojans coach Lincoln Riley reportedly would have happily accepted Dart back, even while USC continues to pursue former OU starter Caleb Williams. With Williams still in limbo, losing Dart leaves USC’s quarterback room bare.
Dart’s decision leaves rising sophomore Miller Moss as the only scholarship quarterback on the roster. Moss, another member of the 2021 class, completed eight of his 13 pass attempts in 2021 for 74 yards and a touchdown.
There is no question Riley will add at least one more quarterback over the offseason, whether it’s in time for spring ball or before preseason camp. However, the options are running slim with nine of the top 10 quarterback transfer prospects off the board.
Ole Miss fielded one of the most productive offenses in the SEC, but it will look very different in 2022. In addition to Corral, the Rebels are losing their top four rushers and top three receivers to either graduation or the transfer portal. Luckily, Kiffin has been active in the portal himself, putting together the nation’s No. 3 transfer class.
In addition to Dart, former five-star running back Zach Evans transferred to Oxford from TCU. In just six games last season, Evans rushed for 648 yards and five touchdowns on 7.0 yards per carry. Offensive tackle Mason Brooks should also be an instant contributor on offense after joining from Western Kentucky.
There could be some growing pains as Ole Miss’ new playmakers get on the same page, but Kiffin has once again assembled an elite group of playmakers over one offseason.