What was said about Jaxson Dart’s performance in Ole Miss’ first scrimmage of fall camp
The former USC quarterback and Utah native is in competition to be the Rebels’ starting QB
Utah native Jaxson Dart was one of the highest rated players to hit the NCAA transfer portal this offseason, and while he found a home at Ole Miss, the former USC quarterback is in a stiff competition to be the Rebels’ starter in 2022.
Another key step in the QB selection process happened Saturday for Ole Miss and the program’s coach, Lane Kiffin, as the Rebels held their first scrimmage of fall camp.
Dart is in competition for the starting job along with fellow sophomore Luke Altmyer, and junior Kinkead Dent is there, as well.
How did the quarterbacks perform?
Dart and Altmyer alternated drives working with the first and second-team units, according to Nick Suss of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, while Dent worked with the third team.
Dart completed 14 of 17 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns, according to Suss, while Altmyer was 13 of 20 passing for 126 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
Kiffin, who said “we don’t make a lot of evaluations off of scrimmages until we go watch (the film),” was critical of how Dart and Altmyer handled pressure Saturday.
“I thought the first two guys didn’t play great,” Kiffin told reporters immediately following the scrimmage. “They took too many sacks. Even though we’re not hitting them, they would’ve been sacks.”
Kiffin praised Dent, who led the third team to a pair of scoring drives.
“I thought Kinkead played really well,” Kiffin said. “We play a little game with the quarterbacks predicting who the MVP of the day is going to be.
“I’d like to go on record that I picked Kinkead Dent to be the MVP today, so that may’ve had something to do with the play calling down there that he threw those touchdowns for me to win that bet, but he did a good job. He made a lot of plays.”
Reporters were a bit more willing to praise Dart.
“He seemed much more comfortable directing the Ole Miss offense than he did in the spring when he had only recently arrived in Oxford and had a tendency for throwing interceptions,” Inside the Rebels’ David Johnson wrote.
“Dart has without a doubt been in his playbook and has a much better understanding of the Ole Miss offense.”
In assessing Dart against Altmyer, Johnson said “on Saturday, Dart simply looked to have more pop than Altmyer on his throws, and his command of the offense was pretty flawless.”
Suss gave the edge to Dart over Altmyer on the day.
“Dart looked a little better,” Suss wrote. “He led a 99-yard scoring drive, headlined by a 50-yard strike to Qua Davis, and showed impressive footwork in the pocket on a 3-yard touchdown pass to JJ Henry where he evaded rushers and made an off-balance throw to find his receiver crossing through the middle of the end zone.”
As Johnson observed, other reporters noted that Dart is playing better than he did in the spring.
“Both Dart and Luke Altmyer made impressive throws and plays while both taking reps with the first and second team units, but Dart was able to find the back of the end zone twice without throwing an interception,” Red Cup Rebellion’s Ruby Draayer wrote.
“He looked much more calm under pressure than he was in the Grove Bowl and seems to have figured out his spot in this Kiffin offense.”