San Clemente QB Sam Darnold is arguably the fastest rising prospect on the west coast right now, as he put together an impressive spring camp circuit, which concluded with him participating in the Elite 11 Finals, as well as the very prestigious Nike Opening camp. In the span of a couple months, Darnold saw his offer list quadruple in size, including a couple PAC 12 powerhouses. Now with the summer winding down, Darnold will be looking to make a commitment, virtually at any moment. Those in the running for the three star QB include, Utah, USC, Duke, Oregon, Northwestern and Tennessee.
Strengths: The first thing that stands out with Darnold is his size. At 6'4-210 lbs, Darnold has the perfect frame to be a top tier QB. Add another 5-10 lbs of muscle, and you'd have one of the best looking QB's in the country, physically that is. One thing that Darnold doesn't get a lot of credit for is his athleticism. As a sophomore, he was named player of the year for his league in basketball, and also played outside linebacker for the varsity football team. He's been described as a better runner than current Utah QB Travis Wilson, so that should give you a good idea of the type of athlete he is.
As for his arm, it's not hard to see why he was an Elite 11 finalist. Sam has a quick release, great arm strength, and even has some room to improve on that. He doesn't use his body weight all that much, and could see an increase on the velocity and distance of his throws if he put more of his weight behind his throws. Another big reason for his Elite 11 invite is his intangibles. Sam has been described as a very natural leader, and displayed great poise in the pocket during the spring camp circuit, as well as at the Elite 11 finals. He'll have no trouble commanding an offense in college.
Areas to Improve: The biggest question mark surrounding Darnold is his consistency. He's been fantastic during the spring camp circuit, but can he sustain that kind of success for an entire season? Because he missed most of junior season due to injury, there's not much evidence to support him being able to do that just yet. There's also room for him to improve in the area of accuracy. His accuracy isn't a problem, but it's certainly not an elite level quite yet.
Final Thoughts: Simply put, Darnold is one of the many elite level QB's out west for the 2015 recruiting class. His blend of size, athleticism and arm strength would make him a desirable QB recruit for just about any school in the country. He has some things to prove this upcoming season, mainly staying healthy for an entire season, but that shouldn't detract from the many skills that he possesses. Where ever Darnold ends up, that school will be getting a QB with as much upside as about any QB in the country, for the 2015 class.
Analysis: San Clemente QB Sam Darnold
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