In addition to a declaration that no team should tank its season in order to secure his services (apparently, he prefers that the worst team in the NFL earn that status the old-fashioned way, by being the truly worst team in the NFL), USC quarterback Sam Darnold disputed, sort of, a report suggesting that he may not be headed for pro football in 2018.
“I’m really just taking it one year at a time honestly,” Darnold told ESPN, via the New York Daily News. “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.”
Here’s what Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com said about Darnold on July 5: “I . . . had several sources close to Darnold tell me they wouldn’t be surprised if Darnold played two more seasons at USC.”
Jeremiah didn’t say Darnold was a lock to stay; Jeremiah said only that Darnold isn’t a lock to leave. And Darnold’s comments seem to confirm that.
If he’s indeed taking it one year at a time, he hasn’t decided what to do in 2018. Which means no one should be surprised if Darnold spends two more years at USC.
Actually, Darnold could spend even more time at USC, if he wants to. As a redshirt sophomore in 2017, he has three more years with the Trojans. If he’s truly taking it one year at a time, the logical conclusion is that no one should be surprised if he plays three more seasons of college football.
As a practical matter, one factor in the annual decision will be: (1) whether he reasonably believes he’d be the first overall pick; and (2) whether he sees the right fit with the team that holds the pick. To get to that point, plenty of behind-the-scenes discussions will have to happen. Surely, they will.
Presumably, they already are.