2017 really does seem like it’s the year of Sam Darnold.
The USC quarterback and Rose Bowl hero is considered to be the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this upcoming season and is already being discussed in NFL circles as the next No. 1 overall draft pick. While there are no doubt a few fans around college football who are already tired of the hype surrounding the redshirt sophomore, it does not appear the signal-caller is letting any of that praise sink in and affect his game.
Darnold is one of several college quarterbacks like Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and BYU’s Tanner Mangum who are serving as counselors to the top recruits in the country this week at Nike’s annual ‘The Opening’ event up in Oregon. The group can be quite competitive at times and typically jump right in to do drills with both high schoolers and NFL stars over the course of several days. It seems that was the case on Friday and that Darnold in particular is continuing to have a very strong year under his belt.
Considering some of the names that have rolled through the event — such as Jameis Winston, Kirk Cousins and Teddy Bridgewater — that’s pretty good company for the Trojans’ QB to be in. A lot of people may not be ready to anoint Darnold as the best in college football (nor should they) but it certainly seems he’s on his way with a strong showing this summer.