Quarterback Sam Darnold declares for NFL Draft, leaving USC early

Brian Chin | Daily Trojan

After a disappointing Cotton Bowl loss, one pressing question was left in the minds of Trojan fans: What will happen to Sam Darnold? On Wednesday at 4:16 p.m., the USC redshirt sophomore quarterback posted a video on Instagram stating his intention to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft.

“After talking to my immediate family, very close friends, and many people who have helped me throughout my life, I have made the decision

to declare for the NFL Draft,” he said.

In his video, Darnold said he is thankful for the coaches and mentors who have helped him better his life both off and on the field.

“The people who have been involved in making me the man I am today have prepared me for the life and decisions that I have to make in the future,” he said.

Through that mentorship, Darnold has proven himself as one of the elite quarterbacks that the NCAA has to offer. After taking over as the Trojans’ starting quarterback in the fourth game of the 2016 season, Darnold tallied 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns and a Rose Bowl victory. The following season, he recorded 4,143 yards and 26 touchdowns but couldn’t mark his second bowl game win.

Darnold’s declaration may urge other Trojans to forgo another season in cardinal and gold and opt into the NFL Draft. Players that will potentially follow in Darnold’s footsteps include junior running back Ronald Jones II, junior linebacker Cam Smith, among others.

The USC quarterback’s Instagram announcement was posted just minutes after a Twitter announcement from crosstown rival QB Josh Rosen. With at least two of the NCAA’s best quarterbacks entering the 2018 NFL Draft, the professional teams in need will have a plethora of quarterbacks to choose from.