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Jaxson Dart to Ole Miss? How He Fits Kiffin's Quarterbacking History

USC quarterback Jaxson Dart entered the transfer portal this week, and he may be planning a trip to Oxford sooner rather than later.

With USC's Jaxson Dart possibly visiting Ole Miss this weekend, it begs the question -- Can he fit in Lane Kiffin and Charlie Weis Jr.'s offense if he signs with the Rebels?

In short, yes.

Dart was a late bloomer, in the words of SI All-American's John Garcia Jr. (who also is kind enough to contribute at The Grove Report), but bloom he did during his senior season at Corner Canyon High School (Draper, Utah).

In his senior season in 2020, in the midst of the rise of COVID-19, Dart led the nation in passing with 4,691 yards and 67 touchdowns paired with just four interceptions. Add in over 1,100 rushing yards and 12 scores on the ground, and he was a prime candidate for a spot on the SI99 and on the 2020 SI All-American Team.

"Dart was not on a major Power Five program radar entering his historic 2020 season at Corner Canyon," Garcia told The Grove Report, "but against the grain, compared to most recruits in the middle of the pandemic, his play en route to a state championship commanded big-time interest."

Garcia spent a lot of time covering Dart's swift rise in the recruiting ranks, and he saw a lot of sparks from the quarterback during his senior campaign.

"The numbers, dual-threat ability and, of course, his arm all spoke for themselves," Garcia said, "and his recruitment became the busiest of any prospect late in the recruiting cycle when it came to visits, handling phone calls, etc. No recruit nationally went from off the radar and up everyone's ranking, including the SI99, like Dart did last year."

Now, as the coaching carousel drags on in spurts through the winter of 2022, Dart has entered the transfer portal after a changing of the guard at USC brought in former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley. It's also believed that Riley is heavily pursuing his former Sooner quarterback Caleb Williams, also in the portal.

Ole Miss has been on the short list of schools involved in the running for both Williams and Dart. With Dart potentially coming to campus this weekend (as reported on Tuesday by The Grove Report) along with his teammate and tight end Michael Trigg, the Rebels may be nearing finding an answer to their 2022 quarterback question.

As is always the case with high-profile players in the transfer portal, however, the Rebels aren't alone in competing for Dart's interest.

Dart's offensive coordinator at USC, Graham Harrell, is now in the same position at West Virginia, so that is a potential landing spot. There are also other schools who vied for his attention during high school, namely UCLA and BYU. Dart went on the record about both of those schools before he settled on USC prior to signing day.

Jaxson Dart facing another school that competed for his attention in high school: BYU.

Jaxson Dart facing another school that competed for his attention in high school: BYU.

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"UCLA is super cool," Dart said back in 2020. "They're on the rise, Coach (Chip) Kelly is going a great job, they almost upset Oregon with their backup QB in. I think they're up and coming and super exciting."

BYU also holds a soft spot in Dart's heart for a variety of personal reasons, including proximity to home.

"It's big that they're in-state," Dart said. "It's always cool playing at home and staying close to family. I am LDS, Mormon, so off the football field, it's kind of how it is every day in Utah. I don't think that is a big change."

Dart may end up being a package deal with his teammate Michael Trigg, however, based on Twitter interactions the two have had in recent days.

Let's say hypothetically that Dart settles at Ole Miss. Would it be a good fit for his skillset?

Lane Kiffin and Charlie Weis Jr. have worked together before Ole Miss when they were both at Florida Atlantic. Weis was a mere 24 years old when he was hired as Kiffin's offensive coordinator at FAU, and before Kiffin's departure for Oxford in 2019, the duo pulled some pretty impressive strings with quarterback Chris Robison.

Robison's 2019 season saw him throw for 3,701 yards and 28 touchdowns paired with six interceptions en route to an 11-3 record for Florida Atlantic. Although he isn't as much of a dual-threat athlete as Dart, Kiffin has shown the willingness to utilize his quarterback in the ground game at Ole Miss (see: Matt Corral).

Should Dart come to Oxford and compete in the SEC, with or without Trigg, it would be a big boost for a roster that has already hit the transfer portal hard in recent weeks, including with the addition of TCU transfer running back Zach Evans.

A talented, multi-dimensional quarterback working under an offensive mind like Kiffin's? Of course he'd be a fit. Now, it's just up to Kiffin and Ole Miss to lure his talents to Oxford to make that fit a reality.

If Dart visits Oxford this weekend, that's the first step in that process.


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