USC quarterback Jaxson Dart was named the Gatorade Player of the Year on Wednesday, becoming the sixth Trojan to win the award and the first football player to do so from the state of Utah.
USC guard Jeff Byers and quarterbacks Mitch Mustain, Matt Barkley, Max Browne and JT Daniels all previously won the award, before Dart was crowned following an unbelievably productive senior season this past fall.
Dart led his Corner Canyon Chargers to a 14-0 record and state title. He completed 70% of his passes for 4,691 yards and 67 touchdowns against just four interceptions. Dart also ran for 1,195 yards and 12 touchdowns on 128 carries. And he carried a 3.98 GPA while doing so. He beat out fellow finalists in 2021 five-star quarterback and Georgia signee Brock Vandagriff and 2023 five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson for the national award. Dart had already been named the MaxPreps National Player of the Year.
The award was presented to Dart by former winner and No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Trevor Lawrence.
One word to describe new USC freshman @JaxsonDart? How about: Surgical. Dart’s dominant senior year in high school was full of excitement, touchdowns and big plays. What a way for Jaxson to cap off the year by winning the 2020-21 National Football #GatoradePOY ! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/TzIz3RU1Mz— Gatorade (@Gatorade) May 26, 2021
Former @CCHSFOOTBALL_ QB @JaxsonDart told @kslsports how it feels to win the @Gatorade National Player of the Year Award, the same award won by Peyton Manning, @EmmittSmith22, and @K1. 🏆— KSL Sports (@kslsports) May 26, 2021
🎥: Gatorade pic.twitter.com/vqnshxWGdy
Dart enrolled early at USC and was able to participate in spring practice with the Trojans. With Matt Fink’s decision not to return to the team, the No. 2 spot on the quarterback depth chart is wide open and more intrigue was added there when experienced walk-on Mo Hasan was lost for the year due to a torn ACL. That means Dart and fellow true freshman Miller Moss are the only available quarterbacks behind starter Kedon Slovis, and the battle between them was fun to watch this spring.
After an up-and-down start spent adjusting to the speed of the game at this level compared to high school, both quarterbacks were able to gain their footing and showcase what made them highly-recruited prospects. Dart was able to show off his running ability and his strong arm, making several eye-opening throws and playing with the kind of attitude that makes him an obvious team leader.