When Ricky Town from St Bonaventure High School committed to Alabama he was the top ranked Quarterback in the country. That all ended when he changed his mind and decided on USC. Blake Barnett, another Californian, became the new top ranked Quarterback after he committed to the Crimson Tide.
Town enrolled early at USC and participated in Spring Drills. When Fall camp arrived, Ricky Town was on the move again and transferred to Arkansas where he’s unlikely to play any time soon.
The reason for the transfer? No doubt it had to be the arrival of Sam Darnold from San Clemente High School.
Darnold passed Town immediately in August even though only Town took part in the Spring.
Darnold was just head and shoulders better than Town from day one.
USC had senior Quarterback Cody Kessler in 2015, so Sam Darnold redshirted. Max Browne was supposed to be next in line for the Trojans having been the highest rated Quarterback in his recruiting class.
In Fall camp, Browne won the starting job over Darnold.
But, things didn’t work out as planned for Browne. He waited for years for Cody Kessler to graduate and finally got his shot, but then USC got blown out by Alabama. They looked extremely hapless in that game and USC has a lot of talent.
The following week, USC stomped a really bad Utah State team. But, then Stanford beat them fairly soundly for their second loss of the season.
It was time to try something different and they inserted Sam Darnold in their 4th game at Utah. They didn’t win and they fell to 1-3 on the season.
But, then everything changed and USC won8 straight games including wins over both teams that played in the Pac 12 Championship game. They even dominated 4th ranked Washington in Seattle and now it can be said that the USC Trojans are the best team on the West Coast.
Sam Darnold just makes plays. He is more mobile than you think and he has a great arm. He has a super relationship with outstanding Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and they have a knack for
hooking up for game changing plays.
Darnold comes from an athletic family. His grandfather, Dick Hammer, played basketball at USC which is why the Trojans were his dream school. Hammer played Volleyball after college and he was a member of the 1964 Olympic team in that sport.
His father, Mike Darnold, played college football at Redlands and his mother, Chris, played Volleyball at Long Beach City College. Older sister, Franki Darnold, played Volleyball at Rhode Island.
Besides that athletic ability, Darnold also has natural leadership abilities and he has great instincts.
In spite of playing very little in the first 3 games, Darnold still managed to complete 213 passes out of 313 attempts for a completion ratio of over 68 percent. His completions went for 2,633 yards and 26 Touchdowns with 8 Interceptions.
Darnold will get a chance to increase his numbers in a good bowl game, maybe even the Rose Bowl. Not too bad for a redshirt freshman.
Darnold has been so good that Max Browne has already announced his plans to transfer when he graduates either in December, or in May. USC’s back up Quarterback next season should be redshirt freshman Matt Fink, who has a lot of the same qualities as Darnold and might even be more mobile.
USC has been under achieving for a while, but they should be favored again in 2017 because of the emergence of Sam Darnold. However, they are going to have some big losses to the NFL after this season. In spite of that, Darnold is a championship quality Quarterback and he makes the Trojans what they really should be. The most glamorous program in the country should be back to normal in 2017.