The 2017 college football season hasn’t even started yet and USC QB Sam Darnold has received national attention left and right.
Darnold was listed to every watch list that he’s eligible for and is the possible No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Many great quarterbacks have come through the USC program including Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Rodney Peete, Pat Haden and Mark Sanchez, but Darnold could be the greatest of all-time when his USC career is in the rear view.
Bleacher Report’s Jeff Pearlman wrote a feature story about the humble Darnold entering his junior season and NFL analyst Sean Salisbury said Darnold has a chance to mold into the greatest QB in USC history. Bold statement especially from Salisbury who is a former USC QB.
“He has a chance to be the best USC has ever seen,” Salisbury told Bleacher Report. “He’s that good.”
Last season Darnold took over the starting role from Max Browne week four in USC’s road loss at Utah, but won nine consecutive games including the 52-49 Rose Bowl thriller against Penn State. It was a season for the books.
But how does he stack up to other Trojans greats?
Leinart threw for 3,556 yards while Palmer collected 2,914 passing yards. Darnold threw for 3,086 yards after not starting the first three games of the seasons. Darnold also threw for 31 touchdowns while Leinart had 38.
However there is one statistic that Darnold excels — completion percentage. Last season he completed 67.2 percent of his passes and Leinart completed 63.4 percent.
The numbers are awfully close and although Darnold still trails arguably the greatest collegiate QB of all-time in Leinart. But a junior season with a potential Heisman Trophy and an appearance in the College Football Playoff could help stake his claim as the greatest the best QB in the program’s history.
Game recognizes game and if Salisbury envisions it, then let the greatest season in USC QB history begin.