If there need be any further reminder that college football can be a cold, bottom-line business, enter the case of quarterback Jaxson Dart.
Four months ago, he was being hailed as the new future face of the program after he came off the bench in the cold and rain at Washington State and passed for 391 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs, playing the second half of that game on a torn meniscus.
He battled back from minor knee surgery to repair that injury and returned to the field to play in five more games, at first alternating with incumbent starter Kedon Slovis and then starting the final three games with Slovis sidelined.
Dart’s emergence was a main reason why Slovis entered the transfer portal in December.
And now it’s Dart on his way out at USC, as he too landed in the transfer portal on Monday, amidst all the swirling buzz of Oklahoma transfer QB Caleb Williams potentially reuniting with his former coach Lincoln Riley in Los Angeles.
Dart finished with 1,353 passing yards, 9 TDs and 5 INTs. He was the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2020 out of Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah.
In fact, to recount the dominos from the beginning …
USC had two QBs committed in the 2020 class in four-stars Jake Garcia and Miller Moss, but the Trojans decided Dart was too good to not pursue and so they went all in on him late in the cycle, eventually leading to Garcia de-committing after being part of the recruiting class for well over a year.
Dart’s emergence and the momentum around his early performance then pushed out Slovis, who had two years earlier led to five-star JT Daniels transferring to Georgia after Slovis’ own freshman emergence and momentum.
Just a few weeks ago, Dart was a central figure in four-star wide receiver CJ Williams’ USC official visit, selling him on the future of the program.
And now he is moving on, presumably to make room for Caleb Williams, who passed for 1,916 yards, 21 touchdowns and 4 interceptions as a freshman at Oklahoma, while also rushing for 442 yards and 6 TDs.
Williams, from Washington, D.C., was the No. 1-ranked dual-threat QB and No. 6 overall national prospect in that 2021 recruiting class. He was in Los Angeles this weekend, posting on his Instagram from Rams and Lakers games.
As for Dart, he ultimately chose USC over UCLA and to a lesser extent Arizona State. It will be interesting to see if the Bruins resurface for him now.
Wouldn’t that be a storyline next year?