Nike’s 2017 “The Opening” event has come to a close, and high school prospects have all gone their separate ways in preparation for the 2017 season. Some college prospects were on hand as well serving as counselors to the high school players, with USC quarterback Sam Darnold among them. Darnold had a big week at the event, setting records for counselors. We don’t know exactly what those records are, but he broke them. Make of that what you want.
The 2017 college football season is still a little under two months away, and the 2018 NFL Draft is still ten months away. However, the rumor mill never ceases, and one NFL analyst is hearing some rumblings about Darnold. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah asked around about Darnold, and sources suggested to him that the USC quarterback could very well stay at USC beyond 2018.
The talented signal-caller was a participant in the Elite 11 competition as a high schooler and he returned this year to visit and workout. There was buzz about Darnold's impressive showing in the QB competition at the event. However, when I asked the coaches/staffers what stood out about Darnold, they each mentioned his humility and willingness to learn. He's always asking questions and he doesn't act like he has all of the answers. I also had several sources close to Darnold tell me they wouldn't be surprised if Darnold played two more seasons at USC. As a redshirt sophomore, he can declare for the draft as early as 2018.
Considering we are over six months away from the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft, it’s safe to say that plenty is going to change between now and then. Right now, Darnold, Josh Rosen (UCLA), and Josh Allen (Wyoming) are viewed as the top three QB prospects, and arguably the top three prospects in next year’s draft. While this could very well hold up, odds are pretty good at least one of them sinks from the top three. And more than likely, at least one quarterback is going to emerge off the radar to get into the first round discussion. It seems to happen every year, and there is every reason to presume it will happen again this year.
The 20167 college football season gets going on August 26 with five games to get things going. For the big three QB prospects, Sam Darnold and USC open Saturday, September 2 at home against Western Michigan, Josh Rosen and UCLA open Sunday, September 3 at home against Texas A&M, and Josh Allen and Wyoming open September 2 on the road against Iowa.