Both Los Angeles-area star college quarterbacks are heading to the NFL.
Less than an hour after UCLA’s Josh Rosen said he was heading to the NFL and declaring for the 2018 NFL draft, USC quarterback Sam Darnold did the same.
“I’ve been blessed that my life has been full of memorable moments and wonderful people,” Darnold said in his declaration video. “People who have been involved in making me the man I am today have prepared me for the life and the decisions I have to make in the future.”
Darnold was the starter at USC for less than two seasons. He finished the 2017 season with a two-turnover performance in the Trojans’ 24-7 loss to Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl. Darnold’s second-quarter interception was returned for a touchdown by Ohio State’s Damon Webb.
The quarterback entered the season as the Heisman favorite and the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. He’ll compete with Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen for that No. 1 pick title but wasn’t a Heisman finalist.
Darnold fumbled the ball 11 times and threw 13 interceptions in 2017. He finished his redshirt sophomore season 303-480 passing for 4,143 yards and 26 touchdowns.
He started the season as college football’s darling because of his performance in 2016. While Max Browne opened the season as USC’s starter, the Trojans began the season 1-2. When Darnold took over, USC started rolling.
Darnold especially shined in USC’s win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl. He was 33-53 passing for 453 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. It was his third five-touchdown game of the season and he threw multiple touchdowns in nine-straight games to end the season after not throwing for a TD in his first start at Utah.
While he regressed some in 2017, Darnold still showed why he’s got immense potential. His best game of the season came in the Pac-12 title game against Stanford when he was 17-24 for 325 yards and two touchdowns as the Trojans won the game 31-28.
Darnold was a four-star recruit and the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2015 according to Rivals. He redshirted in 2015 because USC had quarterback Cody Kessler on the roster.
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