Rose Bowl champion Trojans playing seven games at L.A. Coliseum, open Sept. 2.
The USC junior has emerged as a key leader on the 2016 Trojans.
The Trojans recorded 629 yards of total offense
QB Sam Darnold threw for 235 yards and five touchdowns in win over the WIldcats
Max Browne and Sam Darnold passed for two touchdowns apiece, Adoree Jackson returned a punt 77 yards for a score, and USC rebounded with a 45-7 victory over Utah State on Saturday.
2016: Darnold, a promising redshirt freshman quarterback, will battle for the starting job in 2016.
2015: Darnold redshirted in 2015 as the No. 3 quarterback as a first-year freshman. He was USC’s Offensive Service Team Player of the Year.
HIGH SCHOOL: He made the 2014 Prep Star All-American Dream Team, Max Preps All-State Division II first team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State second team, Orange County Register Fab 15 second team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, All-CIF Southwest Division Offensive MVP and Orange County Register All-Orange County Offensive Player of the Year as a senior quarterback at San Clemente (Calif.) High as he completed 213-of-314 passes (67.8%) for 2,996 yards with 39 TDs and 8 interceptions and he ran for 785 yards on 125 carries (6.3 avg) with 13 TDs. He set school season records for passing yards, passing TDs, completions and total yards (3,770) in 2014. He twice threw a school-record 5 TDs in a game in 2014. San Clemente advanced to the 2014 CIF Southwest Division championship game (he threw for 204 yards and ran for 181 yards in the game).
He completed 29-of-46 passes (63.0%) for 337 yards with 4 TDs and ran for 322 yards on 35 carries (9.2 avg) with 5 TDs as a 2013 junior before he broke his foot in the third game of the season and was sidelined for the final 8 games.
As a 2012 sophomore, he hit 40-of-60 passes (66.7%) for 411 yards and 3 TDs and ran for 143 yards on 37 carries (3.9 avg) with a TD, plus he caught 9 passes for 153 yards (17.0 avg) with 1 TD and he made 27 tackles (with 2 sacks), an interception and 3 deflections. He went 15-3 as a starter in his 3-year career.
He also played basketball at San Clemente, earning All-League MVP honors as a 2013 sophomore and 2015 senior (he averaged 15 points and 9 rebounds as a senior when he also was All-CIF Division IAA second team and Orange County Register All-Orange County fourth team). He missed most of his 2014 junior season recovering from his broken foot suffered in the football season and then he broke a finger. He also played baseball at San Clemente. He was the Orange County Register Boys Athlete of the Year and the Orange County Athletic Directors Association Orange County Male Athlete of the Year for 2014-15. Current Trojan Jake Russell also prepped at San Clemente.
PERSONAL: He is a communication major at USC with a B average (3.01 GPA). His father, Mike, played football (guard) at Redlands and his mother, Chris, played volleyball at Long Beach City College. His sister, Franki, played volleyball at Rhode Island (2012-15). His late grandfather, Dick Hammer, played basketball at USC (lettering in 1952 and on the Trojans’ 1954 NCAA Final Four team) and was a member of the USA’s 1964 Olympic volleyball team, then appeared in films, television (including in “Emergency!”) and commercials (including as the Marlboro Man) and also was a captain in the L.A. County Fire Department.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT SAM DARNOLD
USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster: “If you have ever seen Aaron Rodgers throw the ball, it’s a fastball. It just goes there. That’s what it Darnold’s passes are like.”
USC wide receiver Darreus Rogers: “The kid has grown up fast, on and off the field. He has become a natural leader and his instincts on the field are amazing. What more can you ask for?”
Rich Hammond, Orange County Register: “Darnold’s on-field decisions suggest intelligence but also a level of instinct that can’t be taught.”
Kyle Bonagura, ESPN.com: "He has the ability to extend plays with his feet, both to buy time to pick out a receiver and to take off and run. He plays more on instinct because he’s had less time in the program and because he’s simply wired that way.”