USC quarterback Sam Darnold is thought to be one of the best prospects available for the 2018 NFL Draft. In fact, ESPN’s Mel Kiper rated Darnold the No. 1 prospect on his Big Board just last week.
However, former Heisman Trophy winners and USC greats Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush aren’t so sure Darnold should enter the draft next year.
Leinart and Bush were guests on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Tuesday, and both said they believe the redshirt sophomore should return to school for his junior season.
— Max Meyer (@TheMaxMeyer) October 18, 2017
While the Trojans are 5-1 and look to be the best team in the Pac-12 South, the team has fallen short of high expectations this season. But the Trojans are just halfway through the regular season and could still win the Pac-12 and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff.
That being said, Darnold’s performance thus far this season can best be described as a roller coaster.
Darnold has led USC to some incredible comebacks and has proven that he can make big plays when the Trojans desperately need them. However, he’s been turnover prone and the Trojans have struggled in almost every first half this season.
Darnold has completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 2,063 yards, 15 TDs and 9 interceptions. His 9 picks are the most in the Pac-12.
Darnold’s looming NFL decision will not be an easy one. Sure, the sophomore would benefit from another season at USC and likely would be the top prospect in the NFL draft in 2019. However, Darnold has to look no further than former USC QB Matt Barkley to see the risks of staying in school one year too long.