USC’s Sam Darnold may be the first quarterback selected in next year’s NFL Draft. He’s widely considered one of the top quarterback prospects potentially set to enter the 2018 class when he becomes eligible following his redshirt sophomore season in Los Angeles.
But Darnold is already beginning to work on changing perhaps the single biggest flaw in his game prior to his season getting underway with the Trojans.
According to Joey Kaufman of the Orange County Register, Darnold is working with Jordan Palmer with the hopes of shortening a lengthy release time with his throwing motion.
“His circle is, when your hands come apart, the ball comes down a little bit, and then it starts to come back up and then it goes all the way up behind your head and it goes forward when you throw,” Palmer said. “Right now, Sam’s circle is bigger than it needs to be.”
Darnold compared his throwing motion to that of Jameis Winston. Byron Leftwich was a quarterback that was frequently plagued by a lengthy throwing motion as well.
Darnold believes he can improve and create the needed muscle memory with enough repetition.
“I’ve done it before,” Darnold said, “to create muscle memory to do things or not to do things. I think if I can just continue to work on it, it’ll improve, you know?”
Darnold replaced Max Browne as USC’s starter after three games last season. The change turned USC’s season around and helped them earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. He threw for 2,900 yards with 29 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 10 starts to close out the season. The Trojans finished the season with nine straight victories after dropping Darnold’s first start to Utah.