One of the greatest feelings after your college football team ends a successful season; is looking forward and thinking, “I’m so happy my quarterback will be here next year.”
For USC Trojans football fans the future seems bright in the hands of Heisman Trophy hopeful, Sam Darnold.
With some analysts already putting Darnold as the Heisman favorite over the likes of Bo Scarbrough, Jalen Hurts, or even last year’s winner, Lamar Jackson. Although when looking at last years numbers from Darnold, the idea doesn’t seem so far fetched. The biggest boost for Darnold at this point is his numbers, the first number of course being his age. Darnold already shows the poise of an experienced quarterback, even with limited experience. USC offesinve coordinator Tee Martin commented:
“Sam, he has that quiet confidence and very stern, direct leadership quality that a lot of guys have who win a lot of games.”
Sam Darnold put up Heisman Trophy worthy numbers:
That statement seemed to be proven last year. Darnold was the driving force for a nine game winning streak, as well as a Rose Bowl win to boot. Darnold was able to throw for over 30 touchdowns and less than 10 interceptions this past season. To put that in perspective, that wasn’t even something that USC legends Mark Sanchez or even former Heisman winner Carson Palmer were able to do during their time at USC.
When looking at the stat line, Darnold’s numbers look similar to Matt Leinart’s numbers in his first year as a starter. Both throwing for over 30 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions, not a bad quota to compare yourself to. Darnold also has proved to be lethal even when under pressure. In fact, Darnold boasts a 101.0 passer rating when pressured, ranking sixth in the nation. Also only 6.8 percent of his pressured snaps became sacks, proving how elusive of a passer he really is.
This was noticed by Carson Palmer who said:
“When you watch him play, there’s so many plays that break down, and all of a sudden he fires a ball to a crossing route or finds a way to get out of a sack and keeps his eyes downfield to throw the touchdown pass. He’s just a natural gamer, and guys like that only get better with repetition. Obviously, he’s new on the scene and doesn’t have a ton of experience, but for him to come on the scene that quickly and have the success he’s had, I’m really excited to see the future he is going to have."
Keep in mind this is not the anointing of Sam Darnold to be the next Heisman candidate out of USC. Even though he does show promise like many young quarterbacks, he has a long way to go. Although if Darnold is able to mature into the quarterback that many analysts have professed him to become, he might need to book a trip to New York later this year.
Sam Darnold has a tough road toward winning the Heisman Trophy:
The upcoming season will be a good marker on how far his talents have progressed. The Trojans will play three of the four ranked teams that they played last year, two of which held a top 10 rank. Darnold will face off against Western Michigan for the first game of the 2017 season. The Broncos proved to be a dark horse last season, only losing to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl by eight points.
Darnold will have his work cut out for him as the Trojans lose both All American offensive tackles, their left guard, a running back, and a few receivers. Luckily Darnold’s elusiveness will help to answer the offensive line problem, and the other offensive pieces weren’t crucial loses.
As far as Trojan fans are concerned, they seemed to have gotten an amazing gift that fell right into their lap.