DRAPER, Utah (ABC4) – Former Corner Canyon High School quarterback Jaxson Dart was surprised Tuesday afternoon when Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, called to inform him that he had been named the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year.
“Super shocking. I had no idea coming into this what was going,” Dart said when speaking to the media after learning he had won Gatorade’s top honor for a high school football player.
The shock came after his coach at the University of Southern California called him into a Zoom meeting, saying the Pac-12 Conference wanted to speak with him. After a bit, Lawrence, who many project to become an NFL superstar, came on the call, making it clear this was something bigger.
“He announced that I was able to win the award and all my family came in and my friends were in the back with my teammates and that’s when I found out,” Dart continued.
Lawrence, who spent his college career at Clemson as one of the most hyped quarterback prospects in some time, had plenty of advice for Dart as well when giving him the news.
“‘Be yourself,” Lawrence recalls telling Dart. “‘Obviously, you’ve had success, something’s working.'”
One of the most highly touted players in Utah high school football history, Dart finished his career at Corner Canyon by leading the Chargers to their third straight 6A state championship. In his senior season, Dart passed for over 4,600 yards with a nation-leading 67 touchdowns passes. He also rushed for 1,195 rushing yards with 12 TDs on the ground. A top prospect, Dart signed his letter of intent to play college ball at USC and graduated high school early to join the Trojans for spring practices.
“It still honestly doesn’t even feel real,” Dart said on his thoughts on joining such an elite group. “I look at the names and I look at the things that those individuals have done for the sport they play as well as all the different things that they’ve done for the community around them. I’m still just in shock and can’t believe I’m even in the same discussion and awards as those guys.”
Dart is the first football player from Utah to be honored with Gatorade’s Player of the Year Award. Given out annually since 1986, previous winners of the award include NFL stars such as Emmitt Smith, Peyton Manning, and Kyler Murray.
“Time and again, we see Gatorade National Players of the Year go on to great things, such as playing on professional teams, winning National Championships, as well as becoming coaches and role models for future generations of athletes,” Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien said in a press release. “Jaxson Dart joins a list of impressive student-athletes who have won the prestigious award and we are confident he is headed for a lifetime of similar accomplishments.”
The Trojans and Dart will welcome the Utah Utes to Los Angeles for a Pac-12 matchup on Oct. 9. USC will also host BYU in a non-conference bout Nov. 27.
Dart is the latest in a succession of Corner Canyon quarterbacks to receive national headlines. Former Charger quarterback Zach Wilson, who went on to have a stellar college career at BYU, was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft by the New York Jets, one pick after Lawrence, who was grabbed by the Jacksonville Jaguars after a remarkable run at Clemson.