Trojan QB Pieces Falling Into Place

Ryan Kartje (LA Times)  —  Jaxson Dart, the young quarterback previously believed to be USC’s heir apparent under center, has entered the NCAA transfer portal, a person familiar with the decision but not authorized to discuss it publicly told The Times, likely clearing the way for the most coveted transfer quarterback in college football to join the Trojans.

The decision comes after a campaign in which Dart burst onto the scene as a freshman, establishing enough of a foothold as USC’s quarterback of the future to convince Kedon Slovis, the Trojans’ three-year starter, to transfer to Pittsburgh. But Dart’s place in that future would be obscured just a few weeks later by the arrival of new coach Lincoln Riley, whose departure from Oklahoma led Caleb Williams, the No. 2 quarterback prospect in the 2021 class, to announce he, too, planned to transfer.

Williams was in Los Angeles on Sunday, attending both a Rams game and a Lakers game courtesy of USC. The next day, Dart was in the transfer portal.

A possible return to USC is still on the table for Dart, a person familiar with the decision told The Times. Dart, the person said, loves USC and had no issue with competing for the starting job. But the likely presence of Williams, whose transfer choice is presumably contingent on securing a starting role, makes a return for Dart improbable.

Instead, Dart is likely to become the latest USC heir apparent displaced by another quarterback.

Slovis was the first to ascend unexpectedly into that role, when JT Daniels, a former five-star quarterback prospect from Santa Ana Mater Dei, tore a ligament in his knee in the 2019 season opener. Daniels later transferred to Georgia, and Slovis held the job for two full seasons, before an injury against Washington State earlier this season opened the door for Dart.

Dart proceeded to kick that door down with the most dynamic debut for a quarterback in USC history, as the freshman stepped in to throw for 391 yards and four touchdowns in a road win at Washington State. Dart tore his meniscus in the process, requiring surgery that would keep him out until late October.

When he returned, Dart found himself in a two-quarterback rotation with Slovis, both of whom struggled to find a rhythm in the new arrangement. The freshman never quite recaptured the magic from his debut, finishing with 1,353 yards and nine touchdowns to five interceptions over six games.

But with Slovis on his way to Pittsburgh, Dart was the clear choice to take the reins at quarterback. That is, until Williams announced he was entering the transfer portal. Ever since, rumors have swirled about the potential of the top quarterback following his former coach to join the Trojans.

Nothing was official on that front as of Monday afternoon. But it seemed only a matter of time before Williams would step into Dart’s place as USC’s quarterback of the future.

Dart’s exit leaves Miller Moss as the only scholarship quarterback currently remaining on USC’s roster.

He wasn’t the only top Trojan freshman to declare his intent to transfer on Monday. Standout tight end Michael Trigg announced on social media that he also entered the portal, leaving the Trojans without one of their most exciting offensive weapons from last season’s roster.

Dart and Trigg both appeared to be foundational parts of USC’s offensive plans last season. But a little more than a month after Riley’s arrival, those plans appear to have changed. On Monday, they became the 12th and 13th players from the 2021 roster to enter the transfer portal.

latimes.com

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PN4SC
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January 12, 2022 5:24 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Wait- you mean that when Helton was running the program, we weren’t pushing the players and making demands on them??
Who knew

Steveg
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January 11, 2022 6:08 pm

I am wondering if Caleb Williams and Mario Williams come to USC, how that may affect the commits of Nelson, Branch, and Lemon coming in next year. Will Nelson be willing to sit two years behind Caleb Williams? Does anyone believe Williams is really interested in ucla? Chip could be leaving next week for free.

Last edited 8 months ago by Steveg
Trojan5
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January 11, 2022 8:04 pm
Reply to  Steveg

I think Nelson would only sit one year behind Williams. I doubt Williams will play beyond his Jr year. I guess it is always possible that Nelson as a freshman could beat out Williams. That would be interesting to see play out.

Chris
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January 12, 2022 7:41 am
Reply to  Steveg

i think they were all headed to Oklahoma with those guys there, so not much had really changed.

Chris
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January 11, 2022 12:13 pm

The amount of nonsense on bleacher report community board is crazy. If half of it happens, which it won’t, USC will win every game they play by 5 touchdowns next year. It’s fantasy land over there.

TrojanRJJ
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January 11, 2022 12:46 pm
Reply to  Chris

Chris, I think we all are a bit euphoric with the LR hire and his performance to date. When The Cat took over the program 6 years ago, SC had talent on a par with AL and GA. Six years later, we had only kid (a healthy Drake London) who would have started for EITHER team. And, we had the worst team (talent wise, discipline wise, and coaching wise) in SC’s modern history. Now that we have an elite coach and an elite staff, I would expect some joyous overreach.

Chris
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January 11, 2022 12:51 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

I am drinking the kook aid for sure, and all in for joyous overreach. But their rumors are crazy town, like Will Anderson transferring in crazy town.

ATL D.D.S.
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January 11, 2022 10:06 am

Every day is like Christmas Morning to a Trojan Football Fan these days😎

Last edited 8 months ago by ATL D.D.S.
USC1988
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January 11, 2022 9:16 am

My take away … HCLR will win multiple national titles if this Georgia team with it’s midget qb and awful secondary can win one. Just schedule 10 nobodies play well a couple of times and you will win it ( just like Bamer has the past decade ).

Golden Trojan
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January 10, 2022 9:55 pm

The take away from tonights NCG, Oregon is gonna have a tough defense in a year or two. USC is going have to find a way to get past them.

Rock2112
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January 10, 2022 10:20 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Have to disagree GT — Georgia can recruit defensive players a hell of a lot better than Oregon can, Oregon’s 2022 class has been decimated, and Oregon is now up again the Lincoln Riley machine for recruiting classes going forward. Oregon is likely to take a few steps back in the coming years.

Golden Trojan
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January 11, 2022 8:26 am
Reply to  Rock2112

Hope you are right Rock. The DC of the best defense in college football is now the HC for Oregon. Not sayin’ the Ducks will have a D as good as Georgia but they could be tough, especially in the soft on defense Pac12. Nine of their 12 new players are on defense. I am confident LR will have the talent to get it done.

Rock2112
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January 11, 2022 9:43 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

You’re right, GT, that Oregon is likely to improve on defense, but it is likely to drop a notch offensively — Cristobal had instilled a new tougher culture on offense. I don’t think Oregon is going to continue beating out USC for the best defensive players now that we have LR. Good coaching is critical, but it is nothing without the right players. So I expect a dip in performance up there. Oregon’s successes since 2007 are almost entirely attributable to USC’s decline. They were just better at taking advantage of the situation than any UCLA coach (mostly due to… Read more »

Golden Trojan
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January 11, 2022 12:38 pm
Reply to  Rock2112

SC will be getting the bulk of elite talent in SoCal and the rest of the country will be looking west as well. Oregon will become the second choice or for guys looking to get out of LA for whatever reason.

Golden Trojan
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January 11, 2022 12:34 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Just sayin he should be able to put together a good defense at Oregon. Now whether he is the whole package as a HC is another thing. Lanning is no Saban, Smart or Riley, maybe some day but not for awhile and not at Oregon. USC has in Riley a proven elite HC. You are right Allen, the rest of the Pac12 had their chance to build a dynasty but it is gone now.

TrojanRJJ
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January 11, 2022 11:33 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

GT, I agree with Rock. Not one kid on the 2021 SC D would have played in that game. Particularly, on the DL or at LB. On O, the only kid who would have played is a healthy Drake London. The difference in talent between the SC 2021 team and either the 2021 GA or AL teams was dramatic. Most of our kids look like high school kids compared to what I saw last night. Oregon is not going to get the level of recruit AL and GA have been getting on a consistent basis or in appropriate numbers, particularly… Read more »

Golden Trojan
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January 11, 2022 12:29 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

For sure, Oregon defense will never be Georgia or Alabama but by Pac12 standards they may be one of the better ones in the conference. SC will be or already is the destination for talent in the Pac12.

Rock2112
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January 11, 2022 3:21 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Lincoln Riley clearly started his work with trying to upgrade the defense. He has also started on both sides of the ball on the outside, mostly, with DBs and receivers. The tea leaves I am seeing say LR wants to ugrade the speed of our team in a big hurry, bring in the type of players that SC is known to be able to recruit, and then use the improvement they provide to sell a vision to the big (fast) uglies that will come next. Right now, it is just too much to ask a 4 or 5 star lineman… Read more »

Steveg
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January 10, 2022 8:11 pm

Georgia cannot beat Alabama with Bennett at Qb.

Last edited 8 months ago by Steveg
Trojan5
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January 10, 2022 8:16 pm
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Remember, Kirby started Fromme ahead of Justin Fields. And then had to start Bennett because of lack of depth at the QB position. Injuries derailed JT, but that doesn’t get Kirby off the hook for not having a better option than Bennett. If I am a GA fan I am really pissed at Kirby.

Trojan5
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January 10, 2022 8:30 pm
Reply to  Trojan5

Great throw by Bennett. Credit given where credit is due.

Trojan5
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January 10, 2022 8:47 pm
Reply to  Steveg

Steve, we were wrong. GA wins.

Steveg
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January 10, 2022 8:52 pm
Reply to  Trojan5

Had I said something good about Bennett he would have missed those two TD passes. Oh well, everyone has their day, today was Bennetts.

Trojan5
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January 10, 2022 8:54 pm
Reply to  Steveg

Good for him and the GA guys. I was dead wrong in public about Bennett tonight. Fun game though. Have a good night.

Steveg
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January 10, 2022 9:00 pm
Reply to  Trojan5

U2

Steveg
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January 10, 2022 6:39 pm

I just can’t see how Georgia got to the NC with Bennett at Qb. It must have been the team carried him to all those wins. Not impressed at all, JT is a better passer.

Chris
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January 10, 2022 6:51 pm
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They don’t ask him to do much. They’re so good everywhere else, just don’t mess it up.

USC1988
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January 11, 2022 9:18 am
Reply to  Chris

That strategy wins vs a weak schedule … that midget played over his head twice and boom national title I like USC chances for a few titles under HCLR does it really take that much to win national titles these days with a competent coach and good talent.

Golden Trojan
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January 10, 2022 5:02 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I will be shocked if some of the OL doesn’t come with him.

volunteerTrojan
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January 10, 2022 6:14 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I’m guessing Williams wants to own the headline, so he’ll delay his announcement until maybe Wednesday. Today was about NFL, tomorrow will be about the natty, then he can make a splash above the noise Wednesday or thereafter.

Steveg
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January 10, 2022 6:37 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I figured LR has enough class to wait till after the NC.

volunteerTrojan
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January 10, 2022 6:44 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Wouldn’t surprise me. If he has anyone managing his brand, they’d advise something like that.

San Diego Trojan
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January 10, 2022 4:33 pm

I think I just saw that Harrell is the new OC/QB coach at West Virginia.

USC1988
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January 11, 2022 9:20 am

a brutal but thank god distant memory of USC football … that big talking clown fraud will be listed with Kiffin, Suckisian, and Gomer Helton infamy

San Diego Trojan
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January 10, 2022 4:09 pm

Gotta say that I really don’t like the current state of college football in regards to the Transfer Portal and the unregulated NIL. Caleb Williams may be the second coming, but these guys have become football’s version of mercenaries who will go to the highest bidder or most advantageous situation, and can do it every year if they want. I was looking forward to watching Dart develop under Riley, and liked his moxie and leadership. His fellow players sang his praises, and he was willing to compete with Williams. Now you have Caleb saying he will only go somewhere that… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by San Diego Trojan
Golden Trojan
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January 10, 2022 5:01 pm

There is a lot of mayhem now due to the coaching turnover. Alabama only has 4 transferring out. Michigan State had 23 last year with new coach. I would expect SC will be less chaotic next year. I think it is nice players can get a piece of the billion dollar action. In the old days Caleb Williams would be stuck at Oklahoma with new coaches and a new offense. Now he is free to follow the coach that recruited him from HS. It is different but I think it is good. For us fans we don’t have to wait… Read more »

volunteerTrojan
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January 10, 2022 5:22 pm

A player can only transfer 1 time and play immediately. Subsequent transfers require sitting out a year and losing a year of eligibility.

Golden Trojan
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January 10, 2022 4:09 pm

Trying to revise my previous musings on how many new players LR can bring in this year. 247 Sports Greg Biggins says USC could add 25-30 players via the portal. There was some opinion here that a team could only add 7 per year but since Michigan State added 20+ for this past season that must not be the case. If a player goes into the portal the team does not have to take them back if they don’t find a team or change their mind. If a team loses at least 7 to the portal they can add up… Read more »

Steveg
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January 10, 2022 4:37 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

As I watch the portal I just can’t see USC wanting to bring in players just to fill holes, which is what LR said he would not do. The amount of talent isn’t all that great besides the Williams boys. Everyone is scooping up players, especially the linemen.

John Weld
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January 10, 2022 5:16 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Hi Golden: Here is the link to the NCAA Story that limits the number of transfer portal signings to 7, limits the total number of players to 32 and most importantly the team cannot exceed more than 85 scholarship players. This rule became effective in October 2021. See link below. I will see if I can find a press release directly from the NCAA. I also posted an NCAA documents that shows the portal rules from the players perspective in my other comment. Here is the official release from NCAA: Click Here for NCAA Statement on limits. Click for NCAA… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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January 10, 2022 5:38 pm
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John, It clearly states that the number is the number of transfers out plus 7 with a max of 85.

Golden Trojan
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January 10, 2022 5:39 pm
Reply to  John Weld

Thanks John, it is a bit hard to figure out. What I can deduce, the scholarship limit is now 85, Covid exemptions allowed more last year, SC had 96, and up to 25 new per year. The rule of 7 as I see it, if a school has 7 or more transfer out, the school can add 7 more scholarships for the year from 25 up to 32. I don’t see where it matters what combination of HS commits and transfers.

Last edited 8 months ago by Golden Trojan
Golden Trojan
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January 10, 2022 5:43 pm
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Right now, SC had 21 available scholarships and has likely filled 14 but the numbers are still fluid.

Steveg
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January 10, 2022 6:31 pm
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Will someone tell me can a team take more than 7 from the portal? Could a team take 32 from the portal?

John Weld
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January 10, 2022 7:02 pm
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The NCAA announced Tuesday that it has approved a one-year waiver of signing and initial counter limits in football that will help coaches deal with roster issues related to the transfer portal. Football programs can now sign up to seven more players in place of those who leave during the first term. “We believe schools should have temporary flexibility to help address possible roster depletion due to transfers,” said Division I chair and Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour. “This one-year waiver enables schools to properly utilize their scholarship limitations.” A school can sign up to 32 players during any… Read more »

Steveg
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January 10, 2022 7:05 pm
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okay John, thank you I do appreciate it.

alfa1
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January 10, 2022 3:43 pm

With Matt Corral finished at Ole Miss, gotta think Kiffin is burning the phone up getting in touch with Dart, Arch Manning is a reach for Ole Miss, Dart would be a Kaboom with one years experience.

USC1988
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January 11, 2022 9:23 am
Reply to  alfa1

Dart will not get to week 3 under Kiffy’s 4 play offense … Corral ran the ball 30x one game and remember when idiot Kiffin ran Derrick Henry 51x in one game ! this day and age ! If you want to ruin your careers go to qb killers Kiffy and Suckisian , they will do it.

Steveg
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January 10, 2022 3:21 pm

Go Bulldogs!! GA 31 AL 24 If anyone needs more hype, College Game Day started at 3pm pacific.

Last edited 8 months ago by Steveg
Steveg
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January 10, 2022 3:21 pm

I hate to lose Trigg, he is one of those hybrid tight ends that can out run a linebacker and out physical a DB.

thekatman
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January 10, 2022 2:50 pm

Whatever it takes to bring USC’s football program, known for decades as The Program, back to greatness is welcomed.

DbackTrojan20
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January 10, 2022 2:37 pm

This is wild! And now every time some news pops up I run here for the best reactions LoL thanks Allen it’s great to be aboard for this new wild ride of Trojan football ✌🏼

Chris
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January 10, 2022 2:21 pm

247 sports has Savea headed our way. More D Line help. I don’t remember him playing against us.

Golden Trojan
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January 10, 2022 3:10 pm
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Savea looks to have potential but didn’t play much this season.

Chris
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January 10, 2022 2:14 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Wonder who will coach special teams? One or more will have to wear that hat.