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Corner Canyon highly recruited quarterback Jaxson Dart signs with USC

Dart made the announcement official in a live broadcast on ESPN

Corner Canyon quarterback Jaxson Dart announces he will play at USC on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.
James Edward, Deseret News

Corner Canyon quarterback Jaxson Dart is ready to “Fight on.”

Dart, the Deseret News 2020 Mr. Football and top uncommitted quarterback in the country from the 2021 graduating class, announced he will play college ball at USC during a ceremony at Corner Canyon High Wednesday morning in front of a nationally televised ESPN2 audience.

“I’ve been able to gain such a strong relationship with the coaching staff and they’re the guys that I feel comfortable (with) and I want to play for every day,” said Dart. “I love the culture and tradition of USC, and of course has a great education, and most importantly the scheme I think fits my abilities the best. It’s super similar to the scheme at Corner Canyon. I’m excited to spin it. They were the school that was just in my heart so I went with.”

Dart had narrowed his top four down to USC, UCLA, BYU and Arizona State, and over the weekend had whittled it down to the two Southern California schools.

Dart will graduate early and enroll at USC in January to be eligible to participate in spring ball.

The 6-foot-3 dual-threat quarterback made his decision Monday night and called coach Clay Helton to deliver the news. Dart is believed to be the first-ever quarterback from Utah recruited to play quarterback at USC.

The Trojans officially offered Dart back on Oct. 11. It came a few days after Dart rallied Corner Canyon past Skyridge 29-26 with a game-winning touchdown pass to Cody Hagen with 59 seconds left in the contest.

Other notable players from Utah have signed with USC in the past, including Salem Hills’ Porter Gustin (LB) and Layton’s Tayler Katoa (LB) recently. Gustin was a quarterback and linebacker in high school, but was recruited as a linebacker.

Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar said Dart developed a great rapport with the coaching staff at USC and that was one of the big reasons he opted to sign with the Trojans.

It’s no coincidence Dart’s top three choices were all warm-weather climates. During his Mr. Football photoshoot earlier this month, he told the Deseret News, “I don’t like playing in the cold.”

That doesn’t mean he can’t do it though, as he was outstanding in the 6A semifinals and championship, both played in cold weather.

This season, Dart led the Chargers to a 14-0 record and a third straight 6A state championship. He finished the season completing 240 of 345 passes for 4,691 yards and 67 touchdowns. The 67 TDs broke the previous Utah state record of 58 passing touchdowns, while he came up 43 yards shy of breaking the passing yards single season state record of 4,734 set by Lehi’s Cammon Cooper in 2017.

Dart also rushed for 1,195 yards and 12 scores.

“You realized after working with him for a couple weeks he was going to be a pretty special player,” Kjar said.

After starting for Roy High School his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, Dart transferred to nationally ranked Corner Canyon for his senior campaign. Just a couple games into this season, the more prominent scholarship offers began arriving, which coincided with his six-TD performance against Bingham in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Prior to that game his offers were mostly limited to in-state schools such as BYU and SUU. Soon thereafter, they started coming from Pac-12 programs.

Dart is one of two quarterbacks USC will sign during Wednesday’s early signing period. The other is Miller Moss out of Bishop Alemany, California, who is ranked slightly ahead of Dart in all the recruiting service rankings.

Sophomore Kedon Slovis is USC’s current quarterback, but many expect him to play one more season before heading to the NFL which would leave Dart and Moss to compete for the starting job in 2022.

Kjar believes Dart, with his arm talent and football moxie, can win the job.

One of the biggest things that vaulted Dart up the recruiting ranks during the 2020 season was his toughness running the ball. At Roy, Dart said the coaching staff only called designed runs for him a couple times. In fact, during his junior season he only rushed for 102 yards.

During his senior season with the Chargers he had 128 rush attempts.

Kjar said Dart’s athleticism helped him slide around in the pocket very well throughout the season, and said, “his throws on the move are super accurate.”