Ole Miss quarterback competition heats up as newcomers impress

Published: Apr. 16, 2023 at 6:27 AM CDT
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OXFORD, Miss. (WLBT) - The Grove Bowl spring game has wrapped up for the Rebels.

The red and blue team went head-to-head, but they weren’t the only ones battling it out on the field Saturday.

A trio of star-studded had a little competition of their own.

A few new faces have joined the Ole Miss roster in a loaded, yet talented quarterback room. Oklahoma State transfer Spencer Sanders and LSU transfer Walker Howard have competed against last years’ starter Jaxson Dart all spring in hopes of earning the starting position for the 2023 season.

While there has been a lot of question as to “why so many QBs” head coach Lane Kiffin responded with the importance of depth.

“Well, it’s like having a lot of good pitchers on a baseball team,” Coach Kiffin said. “You like having more than one. It’s really good that we’ve got all three guys who did good things today. The idea in the off-season was to improve that room, make it competitive, and bring guys in. So, it’s not really competitive for that #1 spot. It just makes it a competitive room.”

For Jaxson Dart, this is now his second quarterback competition since being at Ole Miss, but he says he uses these moments to grow his game and help the other QBs with theirs.

“Competition is always good,” Dart said. “For me, I’m trying to develop into a first-round draft pick. I just try to keep getting better each and every day. It’s good to have guys like that to push you. Spencer has got a lot of experience, and me and Walker are kind of the younger ones. So, it’s good at times for us to take some advice from him.”

Even though newcomer, Spencer Sanders, has a few years as a QB under his belt, he still tries to take in every learning opportunity.

“It’s like people say, iron sharpens iron. We have a lot of talented quarterbacks,” Sanders said. “Jaxon is a well-talented quarterback; Walker is a well-talented quarterback. Competing with these guys and going head to head with them every day only makes me better, and watching them do things out there, I learn from them. I’ve been in this game for a minute, but there’s always room to learn.”

Dart finished today’s spring game with 18 completions for 310 yards and a touchdown, Sanders with 19 completions and three touchdowns, and Howard with 11 competitions and three touchdowns. Coach Kiffin said all three guys showed out and made plays.

With three dynamic quarterbacks, Coach Kiffin has a difficult decision to make. But one thing is for sure, the next QB1 will earn it.

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