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Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss QB room one of best in country as Jaxson Dart, Spencer Sanders and Walker Howard compete for the job

Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss QB room one of best in country as Jaxson Dart, Spencer Sanders and Walker Howard compete for the job

OXFORD, Miss. – This time last season, Ole Miss was looking at a spring quarterback battle between Luke Altmyer and Jaxson Dart.

Altmyer had come on in relief of an injured Matt Corral in the Sugar Bowl and Dart was a highly touted transfer from Southern Cal. Dart ended up with the job, starting 12 games last year.

This season, the spring battle will feature three contestants for the starting quarterback role. With Altmyer opting to transfer to Illinois, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has enticed a pair of transfer quarterbacks to join the program.

While Dart returns for his second season in Oxford, he will be joined by LSU transfer Walker Howard and Spencer Sanders of Oklahoma State.

So, the quarterback room for the Rebels features a returning starter, a former four-star recruit and a former four-year starter for a team that beat Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl a couple of seasons ago.

All in all, that is a pretty talented trio.

Last season, Dart completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,074 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also ran for an additional 614 yards in leading the Rebels to an 8-5 record and a bid to the TaxAct Texas Bowl.

Howard did not see much action as a true freshman at LSU but was a part of a team that won the SEC West and crushed Purdue 63-7 in the Citrus Bowl. In the bowl game, Howard completed 2-of-4 passes and ran for 33 yards.

Howard was a highly-coveted recruit in the last recruiting cycle. Coach Kiffin recruited him hard; however, the quarterback opted to stay at home in Louisiana to join the Tigers.

Sanders notched 2,642 yards passing and threw for 17 touchdowns last season for the Cowboys. For his career in Stillwater, Sanders passed for 9,553 yards and 67 touchdowns. During his time as the starter, Oklahoma State compiled a 30-11 record.

The quarterback situation at Ole Miss heading into the spring is reminiscent of the situation at the running back position this time last year.

The Rebels had lost one back to transfer and two others left early for the NFL Draft. All Kiffin did then was sign Quinshon Judkins out of Pike Road (Ala.) High School and got TCU’s Zach Evans and Ulysses Bentley IV from SMU in the transfer portal.

They pushed one another and each finished in the top ten in the league. Judkins led the Southeastern Conference in rushing, while Evans finished No. 6.

If one or more of the quarterbacks on the Rebels’ roster can step up the way the running backs did a year ago, the Ole Miss offense should be in good hands heading into the season.

Ole Miss opens the schedule at home against Mercer Sept. 2.

Steve Barnes
Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.

He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.

A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.

Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.

He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.

Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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