Oklahoma football: USC transfer(s) to choose between OU, Ole Miss

Nov 27, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Jaxson Dart (2) throws the ball against the BYU Cougars in the first half at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Jaxson Dart (2) throws the ball against the BYU Cougars in the first half at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The next few days should determine if Oklahoma football is the transfer destination for not one, but two notable USC players.

In what could be the strangest and most intriguing transfer storylines this college football offseason, USC and Oklahoma could be in the process of swapping out quarterbacks and receivers.

Former USC quarterback Jaxson Dart and tight end Michael Trigg have announced they have narrowed the choice for where they will be playing next season to two schools. This past week the Trojan pair paid visits to Oklahoma, TCU and Ole Miss, and on Monday they announced the final choice would be OU or Ole Miss.

It appears the former four-star quarterback and four-star tight end are going together as a package deal. Both were highly recruited, top-10 prospects at their position when they signed on to USC’s 2021 class and became very close during their freshman year with the Trojans.

Dart, from Draper, Utah, was the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2021. He is the second USC quarterback to transfer since former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley was named the new head coach at USC. Kedon Slovis preceded Dart into the transfer portal and is now at Pittsburgh.

Dart replaced the injured Slovis at quarterback for USC midway through the 2021 season. In his college debut against Washington State, Dart passed for a USC freshman record 391 yards and four touchdowns. He finished the season with 1,353 passing yards, a 61.9 completion percentage and nine touchdowns.

The 6-foot, 4-inch Trigg, who hails from the other side of the country in Tampa, Florida, possesses the size of a tight end, but can move like a receiver. A player comparison in size and skills would be former Oklahoma All-American Mark Andrews.

Although it has not happened yet, it is highly anticipated that former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams will be joining his former coach — and the reason, he says, he came to Oklahoma — at USC. The USC coaching transition, similar to the transition at Oklahoma, ostensibly is the reason for Dart and Trigg electing to move on.

Within a couple of hours of Caleb Williams publicly announcing he was entering the transfer portal, Oklahoma went to the portal to pick up former UCF starting quarterback and recent UCLA commit Dillon Gabriel. Even with Gabriel on board and now reunited with Jeff Lebby, his former offensive coordinator at UCF and now the offensive coordinator at OU, Oklahoma has continued to show an interest in adding another transfer QB.

The Sooners had also been pursuing former Florida State signal-caller Chubba Purdy, but on Monday Purdy, the brother of former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, committed to Nebraska.

Dart and Trigg seemed to enjoy their visit to Oklahoma this past weekend. They both posted on Twitter, showing images of them wearing Sooner uniforms. Don’t read too much into that, though, because they did the same thing following their visit to Ole Miss.

So, what are the factors that could sway the transfer decision one way or the other? Here is the case for Oklahoma and for Ole Miss.

Case for Oklahoma to earn the commitment(s)

  • Oklahoma has the most to offer offensively with plenty of weapons and playmakers. The problem is Jaxson Dart presumably would have to beat out Dillon Gabriel as the starting QB. Would he be comfortable as No. 2, but just an injury away from getting the call, similar to his opportunity his freshman season at USC?
  • Even though Ole Miss is coming off an outstanding 2021 season, Oklahoma is in better position to be the better team in 2022 and will only get better from there.
  • The Sooners have a much stronger national reputation in football than Ole Miss.
  • With Austin Stogner transferring and Jeremiah Hall declaring for the NFL Draft, the timing could be perfect for Michael Trigg winning the starting tight-end job.
  • New offensive coordinator Jeffy Lebby has an accomplished track record working with quarterbacks. Interestingly, he was at Ole Miss last season, where he worked with Heisman contender Matt Corral.
  • The Sooners have earned the reputation as Quarterback U. The Sooners have produced four Heisman-winning quarterbacks in the 2000s, and not all of them were pupils of Lincoln Riley.

Case for Ole Miss to earn the commitment(s)

  • Head coach Lane Kiffin, an established offensive mastermind, is in greater need than OU for a starting quarterback and even QB depth for next season.
  • The chance to play immediately is probably more of a possibility at Ole Miss than at OU.
  • Ole Miss plays in the strongest and best college football conference. Oklahoma will join the SEC in a year or two, but Ole Miss is there now.
  • Kiffin has been a head coach at several programs, including USC, and is widely known for his offensive creativity and expertise. This might appeal to the two USC transfers more than first-year head coach Brent Venables and his Oklahoma coaching staff.

Should Dart, and presumably Trigg, choose Oklahoma as their next football home, it sets up a fascinating situation with former Sooner QB Caleb Williams and WR Michael Williams landing at USC while former USC QB Jaxson Dart and TE/WR Michael Trigg end up at Oklahoma.

We should have some clarity on all of this within a few days.