USC transfer(s) to choose between OU and Ole Miss

The coming days should reveal whether 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 off-season, USC and Oklahoma could be swapping quarterbacks and receivers.

Former USC quarterback Jaxson Dart and tight ending Michael Trigg have announced that they have limited their choice of where to play next season to two schools. Last week, the Trojan couple visited Oklahoma, TCU, and Ole Miss, and on Monday announced that the final pick would be either OU or Ole Miss.

It looks like the former four-star quarterback and four-star tight end are merging as a package deal. Both were highly recruited, top-10 prospects in their ranks when they signed up for the USC 2021 class and became very close during their first year with the Trojans.

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

Dart replaced the injured Slovis as USC quarterback 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 percentage completion and nine touchdowns.

The 6-foot, 4-inch Trigg, which hails across the country in Tampa, Florida, is the size of a tight end but can move like a receiver. A player comparison in size and skill would be former Oklahoma All-American Mark Andrews.

While it hasn’t happened yet, it’s highly anticipated that former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams will join his former coach — and the reason, he says, he came to Oklahoma — at USC. The USC coaching transition, similar to the Oklahoma transition, is ostensibly why Dart and Trigg choose to move on.

Within hours of Caleb Williams publicly announcing that he was entering the transfer portal, Oklahoma went to the portal to pick up former UCF starting quarterback and recent UCLA commitee 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 interest in adding another transfer QB.

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

Dart and Trigg seemed to be enjoying their visit to Oklahoma last weekend. They both posted to Twitter showing images of them wearing Sooner uniforms. Don’t read too much about that though, as they did the same thing after their visit to Ole Miss.

So, what are the factors that can influence the transfer decision in some way? This is the case for Oklahoma and for Ole Miss.

Case for Oklahoma to earn the pledge(s)

  • Oklahoma has the most to offer offensively with lots of weapons and playmakers. The problem is that Jaxson Dart would presumably have to beat Dillon Gabriel as the starting QB. Would he be comfortable as No. 2 but only an injury away from getting the call-up, similar to his chance his freshman season at USC?
  • While Ole Miss has had an excellent season in 2021, Oklahoma is in a 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 transitioning and Jeremiah Hall running for the NFL Draft, the timing could be perfect for Michael Trigg to win the tight lane.
  • New Offensive Coordinator Jeffy Lebby has a proven track record of working with quarterbacks. Interestingly, he was with Ole Miss last season, where he teamed up with Heisman contender Matt Corral.
  • The Sooners earned a reputation as Quarterback U. The Sooners produced four Heisman-winning quarterbacks in the 2000s, and not all of them were Lincoln Riley’s students.

Case for Ole Miss to earn the pledge(s)

  • Head coach Lane Kiffin, an established offensive mastermind, needs a starting quarterback and even QB depth more than OU for next season.
  • The chance to play right away is probably more of a possibility with Ole Miss than 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 here now.
  • Kiffin has served as a head coach on several programs, including USC, and is widely known for his offensive creativity and expertise. This may appeal to the two USC transfers more than freshman head coach Brent Venables and his Oklahoma coaching staff.

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

We should have clarity on this within a few days.

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