Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold
Samuel Richard Darnold (born June 5, 1997) is an American football quarterback for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played

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Sam Darnold Darnold in 2018 preseason.No. 14 – New York JetsPosition: QuarterbackPersonal informationBorn: (1997-06-05) June 5, 1997 (age 21)
Capistrano Beach, CaliforniaHeight: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)Career informationHigh school: San Clemente
(San Clemente, California)College: USCNFL Draft: 2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3Career history Roster status: ActiveCareer highlights and awards Career NFL statistics Player stats at

Samuel Richard Darnold (born June 5, 1997) is an American football quarterback for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at USC. He was drafted third overall by the Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Darnold was a two-sport athlete at San Clemente High School, playing football and basketball. Considered a four-star recruit by, he was recruited to USC and joined the football team. After redshirting his freshman year, he served as the second-string quarterback in 2016 before being named the starter after three games. As a redshirt freshman starter, he set multiple USC freshman records, led the Trojans to nine consecutive wins that culminated with a victory at the 2017 Rose Bowl. Darnold announced he would forego his final two years of eligibility and declare for the 2018 NFL Draft at the conclusion of his redshirt sophomore season.

Contents Early years

Darnold was born in Capistrano Beach, California on June 5, 1997. He started playing basketball when he was five years old.[1]

Darnold attended San Clemente High School in San Clemente, California. After playing baseball in his freshman year, he played football and basketball. During his high school basketball career, Darnold excelled, and was named South Coast League Most Valuable Player[1] twice, along with being named to the all-CIF team. Basketball coach Marc Popovich stated Darnold's basketball skills helped translate into football, being the "only guy ever had who could get a defensive rebound and launch a 70-foot pass on target, pretty much in the same motion, to a guy breaking out in the fastbreak. It was almost Wes Unseld-like." Popovich added that Darnold could have played college basketball in the Pac-12 Conference or the Mountain West Conference "at worst."[2]

On the football team, Darnold played wide receiver and linebacker, though he played quarterback as a sophomore after the starting quarterback was injured in a game against Tesoro High School. He threw a touchdown pass and scored the game-winning two-point conversion, but returned to playing receiver and linebacker a week later.[1] When he legitimately became the school's quarterback, Darnold broke the school record for the most touchdown passes in a game when he threw five on two occasions.[3] He missed much of his junior year with a foot injury.[1] In his senior year, San Clemente reached the CIF-Southern Section Southwest Division championship game, where they lost 37–44 to Trabuco Hills High School.[4] He ended his senior season with 3,000 passing yards and 39 touchdowns, along with 800 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.[3]

Darnold was rated by as a four-star recruit and was ranked as the eighth best dual-threat quarterback in his class and 179th best player overall.[5] However, he did not have much footage of him performing at recruiting camps, preferring to show his play in games. As a result, San Clemente head football coach Jaime Ortiz elected to provide video of his basketball career to football coaches.[1] He received scholarship offers to play college football from schools like Oregon, Utah, Northwestern and Duke. During a football camp, USC coaches Clay Helton and Steve Sarkisian were impressed by Darnold's performance,[6] and extended to him a scholarship to play for the Trojans.[7]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date Sam Darnold
QB San Clemente, California San Clemente 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Jul 18, 2014  Recruiting star ratings: Scout:   Rivals:   247Sports:    ESPN grade: 83 Overall recruiting rankings:


College career 2015 season

USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who recruited Darnold to the school, wanted him to play linebacker before he declined.[1] In the 2015 season, Darnold redshirted for his freshman year as he was behind Cody Kessler and Max Browne on the depth chart.[8]

2016 season

Entering the 2016 season as a redshirt freshman, Darnold was the second-string quarterback behind Max Browne. In three games as backup quarterback, Darnold saw limited action, completing 14-of-22 passes for two touchdowns and an interception. After a 1–2 start to the season, Browne was benched in favor of Darnold.[9] In his first career start with USC against the Utah Utes, Darnold completed 18-of-26 passes for 253 yards and recorded a rushing touchdown as USC lost 27–31.[10] After the loss, Darnold's Trojans did not lose a game for the remainder of the season, including a 26–13 upset win over the #4-ranked Washington Huskies. The USC offense recorded an average of 37 points and 518 yards per game, while Darnold set the school record for most passing touchdowns by a freshman with 26, ten more than the previous record set by Todd Marinovich in 1989.[4] Against Arizona and California, Darnold became the first quarterback in school history to record five touchdown passes in consecutive games, while also throwing for multiple touchdowns in eight straight games, the first USC quarterback to do so since Matt Leinart did in 2004. On the ground, Darnold recorded 230 rushing yards, the most by a USC quarterback since Reggie Perry's 254 yards in 1991. Darnold was named the 2016 Pac-12 Conference Freshman Offensive Player of the Year in late November.[11]

USC was invited to play in the 2017 Rose Bowl, their first appearance in the bowl in eight seasons.[4] In the 52–49 victory over Penn State, Darnold completed 33-of-53 passes for 453 yards, while also setting Rose Bowl records in passing touchdowns (5) and total yards (453). The 453 yards recorded ranked second in the bowl's history, only trailing Danny O'Neil's 456 in the 1995 game.[12]

On January 4, 2017, it was announced that Darnold was awarded the Archie Griffin Award, which was awarded annually to college football's most valuable player to his team throughout the season, an award no other freshman had ever won previously.[13] Darnold was also named to the Football Writers Association of America's Freshman All-America team.[14][15]

2017 season

Entering the 2017 season as a redshirt sophomore, Darnold became an early favorite for the Heisman Trophy, and eventually a first round pick in the 2018 draft. The season did not start the way Darnold had expected. In six games, he had matched the number of interceptions that he had thrown the previous year. This was accredited to breaking in a new receiver group, numerous injuries, and questionable coaching decisions. Despite this, he led USC to a dominant victory over Stanford by a score of 42-24. He then led an overtime victory over the Texas Longhorns during which he drove the Trojans to a game tying field goal in the final 39 seconds of regulation. Additionally, he led USC to a Pac-12 Conference championship with a 31-28 victory over Stanford in the conference title game where he was awarded the game's MVP after throwing for over 300 yards and 2 scores. The win earned USC a spot in the 2017 Cotton Bowl where, despite 356 yards passing the Trojans were soundly defeated by the Ohio State Buckeyes 24-7.

Statistics Year Team Games Passing Rushing Defense G GS Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD Solo Total 2016 USC 13 10 246 366 67.2 3,086 31 9 161.1 62 250 4.0 2 3 3 2017 USC 14 14 303 480 63.1 4,143 26 13 148.1 75 82 1.1 5 2 2 Career 27 24 549 846 64.9 7,229 57 22 155.6 137 332 2.4 7 5 5


Professional career

On January 3, 2018, Darnold announced that he would enter the 2018 NFL Draft.[17]

Pre-draft measurables Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad 6 ft 3 3⁄8 in
(1.91 m) 221 lb
(100 kg) 31 in
(0.79 m) 9 3⁄8 in
(0.24 m) 4.85 s 1.67 s 2.81 s 4.40 s 6.96 s 26 1⁄2 in
(0.67 m) 8 ft 9 in
(2.67 m) All values from NFL Combine[18][19]

Darnold was selected by the New York Jets in the first round, with the third overall selection, of the 2018 NFL Draft.[20][21][22] On July 30, 2018, Darnold signed a 4-year deal worth $30.25 fully guaranteed featuring a $20 million signing bonus with the Jets.[23]

Darnold made his professional debut on August 10, in the first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, where he finished with 96 passing yards and a touchdown as the Jets won 17–0.[24] On August 29, the Jets named Darnold the starter for Week 1 of the season.[25]

Personal life

Darnold's mother is a physical education teacher at Shorecliffs Middle School. His older sister, Franki, is a college volleyball player at the University of Rhode Island.[1] His grandfather, Dick Hammer, was a former Marlboro Man actor and USC athlete.[26]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Helfand, Zach (August 8, 2016). "Stoic, confident Sam Darnold is making USC's quarterback decision difficult". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 4, 2017. 
  2. ^ Helfand, Zach (October 12, 2016). "USC's Sam Darnold's vision on the field makes a difference — so do his basketball skills". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 4, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Stella, Pete (January 3, 2017). "Before Sam Darnold made Rose Bowl magic, he was star at San Clemente". Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Kaufman, Joey (December 24, 2016). "Most Influential 2016: Sam Darnold helped save USC's season". Orange County Register. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Sam Darnold". Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  6. ^ Myerburg, Paul (April 22, 2017). "How USC nearly missed out on signing quarterback Sam Darnold". USA Today. Retrieved April 23, 2017. 
  7. ^ Castillo, Michael (July 18, 2014). "Sam Darnold Commits to USC's 2015 Recruiting Class". Reign of Troy. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  8. ^ Wolf, Scott (September 7, 2015). "USC freshman quarterback Sam Darnold looks to 2016". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  9. ^ Helfand, Zach (September 19, 2016). "Sam Darnold in, Max Browne out as USC starting quarterback". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 20, 2016. 
  10. ^ Wolf, Scott (September 23, 2016). "USC QB Sam Darnold overcomes everything but poor coaching decisions". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Pac-12 Football Awards And All-Conference Team Announced". Pac-12 Conference. November 29, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 
  12. ^ Kirschner, Alex (January 2, 2017). "Sam Darnold breaks Vince Young's Rose Bowl record, and 18 more wild numbers from USC-PSU". SB Nation. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  13. ^ Trevino, Chris (January 4, 2017). "Darnold wins Archie Griffin Award". Retrieved January 4, 2017. 
  14. ^ "FWAA Names 2016 Sound Mind Sound Body Freshman All-America Team". FWAA. January 9, 2017. 
  15. ^ Jeremiah, Daniel (July 11, 2017). "First Look: Scouting USC QB Sam Darnold". NFL. Retrieved April 17, 2018. 
  16. ^ "Sam Darnold". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved November 20, 2016. 
  17. ^ Parr, Dan (January 3, 2018). "Sam Darnold intends to enter 2018 NFL Draft". NFL. Retrieved January 3, 2018. 
  18. ^ "NFL Draft Prospect Profile - Sam Darnold". March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018. 
  19. ^ "Southern California QB Sam Darnold : 2018 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". Retrieved May 12, 2018. 
  20. ^ Hanzus, Dan (April 26, 2018). "Sam Darnold selected third overall by New York Jets". 
  21. ^ "Jets GM: Sam Darnold will compete for starting QB gig". NFL. Retrieved May 2, 2018. 
  22. ^ "Jets CEO: Sam Darnold shifts team into new gear". NFL. Retrieved May 8, 2018. 
  23. ^ "Jets sign Sam Darnold to rookie deal". NFL. Retrieved July 30, 2018. 
  24. ^ "Sam Darnold flashes starting QB potential in Jets' win". NFL. Retrieved August 11, 2018. 
  25. ^ Patra, Kevin (August 29, 2018). "Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold to start Week 1 at Lions". Retrieved August 29, 2018. 
  26. ^ Feldman, Bruce (October 17, 2016). "Meet Sam Darnold, the star freshman QB who has saved USC's season". Retrieved November 26, 2016. 
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