As the clock continues to tick in the era of the transfer portal, fan bases get more and more anxious.
Where (and when) will Jaxson Dart and Michael Trigg commit to continue their college football careers?
If you follow Lane Kiffin on Twitter, he's been tweeting a lot of 'puzzle piece' emojis in recent days, likely a reference to continuing to find pieces for his 2022 roster. That's how it's been interpreted at least, and Kiffin hasn't shied away from publicly courting Dart to Ole Miss.
Kiffin retweeted the last tweet in that sequence, by the way, and he also posted photos of Dart from his official visit to Ole Miss on his Instagram story this week. Still, Ole Miss (and other programs pursuing the pass game duo) are still waiting for an official decision as of Thursday morning.
With a men's basketball program that has not reached expectations in the early portions of conference play, the minds of Ole Miss fans have been in two places in recent weeks: finding a transfer quarterback and looking ahead to baseball season. The mediocre performance in basketball paired with the departure of Matt Corral for the NFL has created a perfect storm of sorts that makes the pursuit of Dart one of the most talked about topics in Oxford.
It seems that Ole Miss is in a good place to secure Dart and Trigg, at least on the surface. The two athletes tweeted pictures with Kiffin during their official visit to Oxford and also shared some photos in Ole Miss uniforms from that time, but no decision has been made. Oklahoma got a lot of the same treatment from the two as far as photo sharing is concerned.
I liken the era of the transfer portal in college football to a sprint while high school recruiting is more of a marathon. There is time to evaluate talent coming out of high school in a normal recruiting cycle, but once a coveted player enters the portal, you have to hit the ground running as a staff and program to try and woo said talent to your campus. Ole Miss managed to do that--not only with Dart and Trigg, but with other players in the portal--but this last 'puzzle piece' of the dynamic duo from USC has yet to find its resting place in Oxford.
I think the collective society of college football is still trying to adapt its mindset to the world of the transfer portal, but Ole Miss is in a unique position this offseason. Even if Luke Altmyer is your guy heading into 2022, you have to have more depth in your quarterback room than simply he and Kinkead Dent. If this past football season showed Ole Miss anything, it's that you need a solid backup plan should your starting signal caller go down.
If Dart lands in Oxford, he would likely have to go through some form of a quarterbacking competition during spring ball, but he would be the proverbial favorite to land the job. Should he go to a place like Norman, Oklahoma, he might have to sit a year behind Dillon Gabriel. That could ultimately factor into his decision in the end, but, again, Dart and Trigg left Oxford on Sunday. Today is Thursday, and no decision has been made, leading to palpable anxiety around town.
Can Lane Kiffin secure this last piece of his 2022 puzzle? Or will it be back to the drawing board for his staff? They have already shown a multitude of success in the portal this offseason, but a quarterback eludes them still.
If they can snag Dart and Trigg in a two-for-one type of deal, the fan hype around next fall will likely go through the roof, but, at least for now, the wait is on.
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