During a break on Wednesday, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Darnold was summoned to his coach's office and was asked to call Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost. It was then he learned he had landed an offer from the Ducks.
"Coach Ortiz told me to go call Coach Frost, so I called him and he was basically explaining the whole deal," he said. "He put me on the phone with Coach [Mark] Helfrich and he was the one who extended the offer to me."
Earlier on Wednesday, Oregon learned that Corona (Calif.) prospect Blake Barnett had verbally committed to Alabama, throwing a wrench into the program's plans at quarterback for the 2015 class and subsequently putting the spotlight on Darnold, one of the few remaining uncommitted QB's in the West region.
Despite the timing, including the fact that Darnold wants to commit before his senior season starts in a matter of weeks, he was thrilled to land the offer.
"I was more excited and honored knowing that I'm one of his top guys for him to offer me," Darnold said. ‘That was a great moment. I wasn't going to ask ‘Why?' this late. But it was definitely awesome."
Darnold is still in school until next week and plans on taking visits to Northwestern, Duke and Tennessee after classes conclude. He does plan on visiting Oregon, even if it means staying in town after The Opening next month.
"I'm also doing Elite 11 and The Opening July 5-11, and Coach Helfrich — because that's a dead period when The Opening and Elite 11 is — he was talking about me going up there like late-July, mid-July and maybe staying out a few more days to wait out the dead period when I'm up there already," Darnold said.
The dead period ends on July 13.
Without having visited Eugene, Darnold indicated that the offer alone is enough to keep the Ducks near the top of his list until he makes a decision. But they won't be the only ones.
"Oregon will definitely hold a key place in where I go from here," Darnold said. "They're definitely going to be up towards the top. All of the schools that have offered me so far are still in contention because I missed basically all of last year. I only played two-and-a-half games. That's why I'm taking my time with it."
Northwestern, Duke, Tennessee, San Diego State, Oregon State are all programs that Darnold said he could see being a factor during the stretch run of his recruitment, though one school in the Pac-12 currently holds the edge above the rest.
"Utah is pretty much at the top right now," Darnold said. "Just because I have that relationship with their coaches and I've visited that school."
Of course, there is always the chance that new schools could continue to enter the picture. Darnold is hopeful that he'll pick up another Pac-12 offer in the near future.
"I'm looking at hopefully an offer from Stanford pretty soon," Darnold said. "I don't exactly know where they're at. I went to their camp yesterday and that was good. I had a good time with the other QB's that were there and Coach Pritchard and Coach Shaw."