Stanford head coach David Shaw knows his program has its hands full early on when the Cardinal hosts USC in Week 2. Sam Darnold and Co. will be coming to town, and according to Shaw, there is nobody better than the redshirt sophomore.
Stanford coach David Shaw, when asked about USC, praises Sam Darnold. "I think they got the best quarterback in the nation."
— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) July 27, 2017
It’s hard to argue with Shaw, at least from a pure passing standpoint. Sure, there are others out there like Lamar Jackson who can do more to scare defenses overall. But perhaps no passer in the nation can compare to Darnold when it comes to delivering strikes all over the field from the pocket.
As a redshirt freshman last season, Darnold went 9-1 as the starter after taking over for Max Browne. He appeared in every game but took over as the clear-cut answer at starter during the fourth game of the season for the Trojans against Utah. After losing that first game, Darnold led USC to a nine-win finish, including a thriller over Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
For the season, Darnold completed 67.2 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He’s already considered by some to be the presumptive No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, if he chooses to declare, of course.