College football national signing day: USC Trojans land QB Jaxson Dart

Jaxson Dart chooses USC over UCLA, ASU (1:00)

QB Jaxson Dart explains why he has chosen to play his college football at USC. (1:00)

USC got off to a fast start in the college football early signing period with ESPN 300 quarterback Jaxson Dart committing to the Trojans on Wednesday.

Dart is the No. 73-ranked recruit overall. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound signal-caller from Draper, Utah, is the second-highest-ranked commit in the Trojans' class. He chose USC over UCLA, Arizona State and BYU.

"I think USC has always been an exciting school, especially for kids on the West Coast," Dart said. "I think people are starting to understand their culture and what they want to do. A lot of kids want to be a part of it and buy in, and obviously it's working because they're in the Pac-12 championship, they're undefeated and it's just something that's super exciting."

He is the Trojans' second ESPN 300 quarterback commit in this class, along with No. 36 Miller Moss. The Trojans had two quarterbacks committed through most of this recruiting cycle, but lost Jake Garcia, the No. 18 recruit, when he decommitted earlier this month.

It was imperative that USC sign two quarterbacks in this class because the staff didn't sign one in the 2020 cycle after the No. 1-ranked dual-threat quarterback, Bryce Young, flipped from USC to Alabama. The roster also needed depth, as current starter Kedon Slovis will be entering his third season in 2021 and could have the option of leaving for the NFL.

Outside of Slovis, Matt Fink is the only other scholarship quarterback on the roster, so landing Dart and Moss is a big help.

Dart put up eye-popping numbers this season, throwing for 4,691 yards, 67 touchdowns and four interceptions while running for 1,195 yards and 12 touchdowns.

His recruitment got off to a slow start, but it picked up through the benefit of playing this season and being able to showcase what he can do on the field.

"Utah was the very first state to play in the country [after COVID-19 restrictions], and we were able to play a full season and get all of our games in," Dart said. "I think it really helped that we played first, so it seemed like more college coaches, since they didn't know what was going to happen with their season, they had a lot of eyes on Utah. I was fortunate enough to play on ESPN in Week 3, and I was able to perform really well.

"I think there are a lot of things that tied in and helped my recruitment out a ton this year."

Dart's commitment is also part of a huge turnaround for the Trojans, who had the No. 54-ranked class in the 2020 cycle with only one ESPN 300 commitment. Despite losing a commitment from ESPN 300 linebacker Ma'a Gaoteote, who flipped to Michigan State, USC has an opportunity to break into the top 10 in 2021 and has seven ESPN 300 commitments in the class.

There has been a concerted effort from the Trojans, who are 5-0 this season, to "take back the West" on the recruiting trail.

"The relationships I've made with Coach [Graham] Harrell, Coach [Clay] Helton and Coach [Seth] Doege have been super strong," Dart said. "It's in L.A., so I think it's going to provide a ton of opportunities off the field as well. Of course, it's a great education, so I really think there's just so many great things about USC that I couldn't turn it down."

Top 3 recruiting classes don't budge after early signing day: Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia started the day ranked No. 1, 2 and 3, respectively, in the class rankings, and all three are still in the same position, jockeying for the top spot.

The Buckeyes didn't add to their class on Wednesday but will still have a shot at catching the Crimson Tide if they can land five-star defensive tackle J.T. Tuimoloau in February. Georgia was able to sign linebacker Xavian Sorey, but it wasn't enough to pass Ohio State.

The first movement in the rankings came with LSU moving up from No. 5 to 4, jumping Clemson.

A lot of the big commitments on the day were spread out across a number of schools, rather than one school dominating the day, so there wasn't a ton of movement overall.

Miami landing ESPN 300 quarterback Jake Garcia helped the Hurricanes move up one spot to No. 9, switching spots with North Carolina. With as many recruits as we saw announce a commitment on Wednesday, that was the only movement within the top 10 of the class rankings.

Georgia beats out Alabama, Florida for LB Sorey: Linebacker Xavian Sorey, the No. 20-ranked recruit in the ESPN 300, chose Georgia over Alabama and Florida -- a huge win for Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart and his staff.

"The biggest thing for me was I looked at the history of Georgia and the linebackers they've put in the [NFL]," said Sorey, a 6-3, 210-pound prospect from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. "They really put a lot of people at the exact same position I play into the league."

Georgia has six of its 15 ESPN 300 commitments ranked in the top 100.

"The other schools, I talked to one or two guys. But at Georgia, I talked to the whole staff, so it was like family," Sorey said. "... They all knew me. If I went there on a visit, or if I went to a game, the players knew me, so it made me feel good and comfortable with my decision."

Ranked as the No. 3 athlete in the class, Sorey believes he can impact Georgia's defense in a variety of ways. He'll play linebacker in college but he says he can do a little bit of everything.

"I play linebacker, but I can play safety, I can play linebacker, outside, defensive end. I can do a lot," Sorey said. "I feel like I'm the missing piece for Georgia. They have great linebackers now, but you add me to that group that's already there, and it will be scary."

Sooners land No. 27 recruit Byrd: Oklahoma also added a big name to its class on Wednesday with ESPN 300 offensive lineman Savion Byrd, who is the No. 27-ranked recruit overall.

Byrd is a 6-5, 265-pound lineman out of Duncanville, Texas, and he adds to an already great offensive recruiting haul for the Sooners.

The top four commitments in Oklahoma's class are on offense, led by the No. 1-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the class, Caleb Williams. The staff also has signed the No. 1 wide receiver, Mario Williams, and two other ESPN 300 receivers, Jalil Farooq and Cody Jackson.

Aggies add No. 40 recruit Adeleye: The Texas A&M Aggies continued their efforts to move into the top 10 recruiting classes by adding ESPN 300 defensive end Tunmise Adeleye, the No. 40 ranked prospect overall.

Adeleye is a 6-3, 250-pound lineman from Katy, Texas. He chose the Aggies over Alabama and Florida.

"Relationships were the determining factor for me," Adeleye said. "Texas A&M is a school that has been there since the beginning and hasn't wavered from recruiting me, even when I did commit to another school. That shows a lot to me. You could kind of tell during that process which school was the most genuine. The most genuine school won out at the end of the day."

Adeleye had decommitted from Ohio State in August.

"I feel like they're on the trend up," Adeleye said of the Aggies. "Coach [Jimbo] Fisher is a coach that's won a national championship at FSU, and I believe he can do it again at A&M if he has the right pieces around him. ... He's trying to lock down the state of Texas from outsiders like Oklahoma, Ohio State and LSU.

"That message is something that resonated with me and I've taken that to heart."

Adeleye is the fourth ESPN 300 defensive end in this class for Texas A&M, and he's the third top-100 recruit to commit to the Aggies.

No. 56 recruit Smith chooses LSU: The LSU Tigers had an eventful signing day as well, adding defensive tackle Maason Smith, the No. 56-ranked recruit in the ESPN 300.

He chose the Tigers over Alabama and Georgia, among others.

ESPN 300 running back Armoni Goodwin also committed to LSU after decommitting from Auburn at the end of November. Goodwin is the No. 100 ranked recruit overall and is the eighth top-100 commit in the class.

The staff did lose commitments from ESPN 300 wide receiver JoJo Earle and defensive end Keanu Koht, who both flipped to Alabama. The Tigers, however, flipped a prospect of their own with three-star receiver Malik Nabers, who switched from Mississippi State.

LSU also signed ESPN 300 athlete Damarius McGhee, and the coaches are still in on some prospects planning to announce on Jan. 2, including defensive end Korey Foreman and offensive lineman Tristan Leigh.