Jaxson Dart will play for Ole Miss next season, the former USC quarterback told ESPN on Saturday.
Dart chose Ole Miss over Oklahoma and BYU, the other two schools he visited since entering the college football transfer portal Jan. 10.
The allure of developing under Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin loomed large in Dart’s decision. He came away from his Ole Miss visit impressed with the staff’s plan for him, including the vision set out by new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis Jr. and passing game coordinator John David Baker.
On his visit to Ole Miss, Dart came to appreciate the tight-knit nature of the community in Oxford, Mississippi, and how important the program is in the area. Ultimately, the decision came down to his potential to grow under Kiffin in a wide-open offense.
And he’s not alone. Former USC tight end Michael Trigg also told ESPN on Saturday that he will transfer and become a Rebel.
“I really favored Ole Miss the whole time I was in the portal because of my relationship with coach Kiffin and [Baker],” Trigg said. “I got in the portal with Jaxson and I feel like with him throwing me the ball, we’ll be great anywhere. But I think Ole Miss is the perfect fit for us.”
Dart also had the option to return to USC. The new USC coaching staff made it clear to Dart that he was welcome back to compete for the starting job. But he and his family felt more comfortable going to a place where he’d better be able to control his future.
Dart started three games as a true freshman at USC and played significant portions of three others. He finished the season with nine touchdowns, five interceptions and a 61.9% completion rate. His best game came against Washington State in relief of injured quarterback Kedon Slovis, as Dart threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns.
Dart, who is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, ranked No. 19 in the ESPN 300 in 2021. Only Washington quarterback Sam Huard and Oklahoma transfer Caleb Williams ranked ahead of him at the quarterback position.
Dart will join another Top 20 prospect from the ESPN 300 in transferring to Ole Miss. Tailback Zach Evans, No. 16 in the class of 2020, announced his intention to go to Ole Miss earlier in the month. Trigg was also a part of the ESPN 300. In addition, Mason Brooks, a transfer from Western Kentucky, was one of the most sought-after offensive tackles in the portal. He also drew interest from Auburn, Baylor, Iowa State, Purdue, South Carolina and Texas Tech among other schools.
Dart will be the favorite to win the starting job at Ole Miss with the departure of Matt Corral, who threw for 3,349 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2021. The Rebels finished 12-3.
Trigg had seven catches last season for the Trojans, finishing with 109 yards and a touchdown. USC finished 4-8.