Darnold won't wait long to decide

San Clemente (Calif.) quarterback Sam Darnold is back in Oregon having visited Eugene two weeks ago on an unofficial visit to the University of Oregon.

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Sam Darnold has made a habit out of finishing strong.

While many quarterbacks at the Elite 11 were known commodities by college coaches and sports fans at this point in their high school careers last summer, Darnold was hoping for a scholarship, let alone a dozen.

Fast forward to June 2014 and Darnold arrives on the campus of USC for a throwing session in front of head coach Steve Sarkisian. With several scholarship offers in hand, Darnold had a feeling the visit would help propel him from a USC quarterback recruit to scholarship offer candidate.

“They were definitely hinting towards that offer,” said Darnold. “I was going in there not knowing if they were going to offer, so I felt my performance really helped me in that situation. I felt good about it.

“Coach Sark called me and just let me know that they were going to offer me a scholarship and that it was open to whatever I wanted. If I was going to commit, awesome, but if not, just let them know and go from there.

“It has been pretty hectic, but it has been a good. It is awesome when it comes down to it — being able to play for a school on a full ride is pretty amazing.”

Amazing because a majority of Darnold’s 13 scholarship offer came from in person evaluations. Proving his skills on the field is what he has done in the past and is continuing to do at the Elite 11.

“I just want to be the MVP, that’s the main goal,” said Darnold. “I don’t have specific goal other than to be MVP and a part of the Elite 11.”

USC sees Darnold as onepf the nation’s best quarterbacks by way of the scholarship offer. Specifically, Sarkisian and his staff broke down why they see Darnold fitting into their system.

“They mention they like how athletic I am,” said Darnold. “I can escape (the pocket) in that new offense they are trying to create at USC.”

USC already has the commitment of Ventura (Calif.) quarterback Ricky Town, another participant in the Elite 11 and The Opening this year. A two quarterback class does not phase Darnold.

“I am going to compete wherever I go because there are going to be quarterbacks wherever you go,” said Darnold. “I don't think it impacts my decision that much.”

What will impact his decision to commit to USC or not is rather obvious.

“Being close to home is pretty big,” said Darnold. “And then overall, the new coaching staff with Coach Sark and Coach (Clay) Helton is great.

“They’re really awesome, and hopefully, I can move forward and I can move forward with them.
“USC is my hometown team, and I have grown up a USC fan so it is something I have dreamed of.

“But I am definitely going to take everything into consideration when I look at a school that I could attend for four years and earn a degree.”

However, Darnold wants that consideration period to end before the start of his season.

“I definitely want to make a decision before the season,” said Darnold. “It will probably come mid to late July.”

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