Lincoln Riley’s overhaul of the USC football program continues to affect his quarterback room, and the latest repercussions could be felt locally.
Jaxson Dart, a four-star freshman from Corner Canyon High School who played in six games for the Trojans in 2021, has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal, multiple sources with access to the database confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday morning.
The widely-held assumption is that Dart leaving will clear the decks for Caleb Williams to commit to the Trojans and Riley, his former coach at Oklahoma. Williams entered the transfer portal on Jan. 3, more than a month after Riley left Norman for Los Angeles.
Dart debuted for USC on Sept. 20, yielding rave reviews after he took over for the injured Kedon Slovis, throwing for 391 yards and four touchdowns on 30-for-46 passing in a road win over Washington State. Dart suffered a torn meniscus in that game, costing him six weeks of action, but he managed to finish with 1,353 yards and nine touchdowns, while completing 61.9% of his passes.
Slovis, twice an All-Pac-12 selection, entered the transfer portal on Dec. 13 and has since committed to reigning ACC champion Pitt.
Dart will have heavy Power Five interest in the transfer portal. But the question locally now becomes how much interest might he have in Utah and BYU? Both programs flirted heavily with Dart as he was leading Corner Canyon to an unbeaten 2020 season and a Class 6A state championship.
As far as the Utes and Cougars go, neither program is in need of a starter for 2022. Cam Rising is entrenched at Utah, Jaren Hall the same at BYU entering the offseason. Either offensive staff making a play for Dart would be for depth purposes, with an eye on 2023.
Utah, specifically, is currently in a position where it is likely to have a significant quarterback question going into 2023, if 2022 is Rising’s final season as a fifth-year junior.
Beyond Rising, the current quarterback depth is Ja’Quinden Jackson, who appeared in three games in 2021, but did not attempt a pass, Bryson Barnes, a walk-on who came on in relief of Rising late in the Rose Bowl, and a pair of incoming freshmen in Nate Johnson and Brandon Rose.