Football

Jaxson Dart named starter ahead of the battle for L.A.

The freshman phenom prepares for his first game as a starter

A photo of USC quarterback Jaxson Dart.

On Monday, Nov. 15, USC head coach Donte Williams anointed freshman Jaxson Dart the starting quarterback ahead of the Week 12 matchup against cross-town rival, UCLA.

The news comes in response  to a Kedon Slovis lower leg injury. Right now, Kedon, we still don’t like where he’s at right now just from a health standpoint.” Williams said, “So Jaxson’s going to be our starter.”

USC is playing in their most anticipated game of the year, but Dart embraces the challenge. “I wouldn’t expect my first start to come in a rivalry game like this.” Dart said, “I am super excited for the opportunity and ready to go Saturday.”

Dart’s presence was a breath of fresh air for the team. The competitive spirit, Trojan swag and the joy of football inundated everyone at practice. Even scout team players were awash in the competitive spirit uttering celebratory “oohs and ahhs” whenever  a play was made.

Although his role has shifted, Dart’s preparation remains consistent. “Not much has changed,” Dart said about any adjustments as a starter. “Each day I treat it the same … like I am going to play and get my opportunity. I am just getting more reps now.”

The opportunity enhances Dart’s chance to lead and showcase his ability to uphold Williams’ standards for discipline, details and domination. “It’s a high bar.” Dart said.

“A great leader on and off the field,” receiver Gary Bryant Jr. said of Dart. “A great quarterback. He is mobile, can hit any throw and he has every trait to be a quarterback.”

Bryant is confident the ball will be on point and puts the onus on the receiving group. “All we have to do is get open,” Bryant said, “and I know the ball will be where it needs to.”

Dart’s first start comes in an incredible stroke of providence; his signing day finalists were narrowed down to two schools: USC and UCLA. “I have great respect for their coaching staff,” Dart said. “I am ready for Saturday.”

Saturday will indicate whether the fresh winds from practice are truly the Dart of a new era.