Jaxson Dart created fresh buzz anew with his breakout performance during USC’s spring practice last month, which perhaps obscured the fact that he was one of the Trojans’ early enrollee freshmen who would otherwise still be wrapping up his senior year of high school.
That point was refreshed Wednesday as Dart was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year for his historic season at Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah.
Dart passed for 4,691 yards and 67 touchdowns in the fall, leading Corner Canyon to a 14-0 record and the Utah Class 6A state championship. Dart completed 240 of 345 passes, throwing just four interceptions, while also rushing for 1,195 yards and 12 TDs on 128 carries.
Dart saw his recruiting stock soar, going from a mostly overlooked prospect entering the fall to one of the top QB recruits in the country, eventually choosing USC over UCLA, Arizona State and others.
Dart started slow in the spring before turning it on over the final few weeks, starring as one of the top performers in USC’s spring showcase in the Coliseum (with fans watching live on the Pac-12 Network) and then continuing through the final two weeks of camp. His accuracy and mobility in the pocket shined bright, and his true dual-threat abilities add another dynamic to his game.
Dart came out of the spring looking like the clear favorite for the backup quarterback job behind incumbent starter Kedon Slovis, who could leave for the NFL draft after this next season, though Dart will continue to battle in fall camp with fellow 4-star freshman Miller Moss.
However that all shakes out, it’s been a banner year every step of the way for Dart with the national honor Wednesday a fitting punctuation on his dramatic rise.