Kedon Slovis or Jaxson Dart? Donte Williams faces QB quandry as interim USC coach

USC football quarterback Jaxson Dart. (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)
USC football quarterback Jaxson Dart. (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports) /

USC football came into the season with a Heisman candidate in Kedon Slovis. Now he’s in danger of losing his job to freshman phenom Jaxson Dart.

A week ago, Clay Helton was the head coach of USC football and Kedon Slovis was his starting quarterback.

Now? Helton is out. Donte Williams is in. And Slovis might not be the starter any longer.

Jaxson Dart made a strong case to replace Kedon Slovis

When Slovis went down injured against Washington State, true freshman backup Jaxson Dart took his place. The young quarterback committed a couple of turnovers but got better and better as he got more comfortable. By the end of the game, he had 391 yards and four touchdowns through the air with 32 yards on the ground.

Most importantly, he got the offense going in a way Slovis hadn’t been able to in the first two games. He took shots downfield. He provided a rushing threat. His athleticism made a difference.

On the sidelines, the injured Slovis looked increasingly dejected. Until someone literally captured a screenshot to rival the distracted boyfriend meme.

Now Williams faces a huge dilemma. Does he keep Slovis as the starter and let him prove himself as the All-Pac-12 quarterback he was last year? Or does he go with the dynamic young talent who sparked the offense?

It might be hard to convince USC fans who watched Dart on Saturday to be content with him sitting back down on the bench against Oregon State at the Coliseum. The praise Dart received from teammates is also telling.

“He’s a young dude but I tell him all the time, he’s a leader. When he speaks, people listen. Today I feel like he played like a leader, too. He didn’t let the small errors get the best of him. He came back out and played his heart out for us,” cornerback Chris Steele said of Dart, per Antonio Morales of The Athletic.

Center Brett Neilon said Dart’s poise reminded him of Sam Darnold, per Adam Grosbard of the Orange County Register.

Famously, Darnold replaced the more experienced but less exciting Max Brown in 2016, sparking a run to the Rose Bowl.

Williams needs to choose wisely. His head coaching candidacy depends on it.

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