I may not return to school, Sam I am.
Jets fans can breathe a slight sigh of relief Tuesday as their dream scenario of USC quarterback Sam Darnold suiting up in green and white took one small step closer to being a reality.
Darnold, appearing on ESPN’s “The Six,” disputed an NFL.com report stating sources close to the redshirt sophomore say, “they wouldn’t be surprised if Darnold played two more seasons at USC.”
Darnold said that’s not the case, as he isn’t certain of anything yet, and questioned who those suppossed sources are.
“I’m really just taking it one year at a time honestly,” Darnold said on the show. “That’s my mindset. I don’t know where he got his information from. I’m really just taking it one year at a time.”
If he declares for the 2018 draft, Darnold is widely projected to be selected number one overall. As a redshirt sophomore, Darnold has the option to enter next year’s draft or stay up to two more years in school and wait until 2020 to leave for the NFL.
Darnold threw for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns and just nine interceptions as a redshirt freshman last season while leading USC to a 9-1 record, including a thrilling win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
The Jets are expected to contend for the NFL’s worst record and — barring a prolific season from either Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty — will most likely consider taking a quarterback with their first pick.
If the Jets do end up with the number one pick and Darnold decides to stay, the scenario could play out eerily similar to the 1997 draft. That year the Jets had the first pick in the draft and were expected to take a quarterback from Tennessee with the selection. However, the young passer decided to return to school for one more season and the Jets ended up trading down.
Next year that same quarterback was taken number one overall by the Indianapolis Colts. His name was Peyton Manning.