According to Scout.com, San Diego State is one of 13 schools to have offered an athletic scholarship to San Clemente High School quarterback Sam Darnold. If 13 seems like a lot, imagine how many offers Darnold would have if he hadn't missed seven of 10 games last season (his junior season) with a broken foot. Darnold completed 29 of 46 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns in his three 2013 games. He also ran the ball 35 times for 322 yards and five touchdowns.
Despite missing such a large chunk of the season, the 6-foot-4, 208-pound high school QB is one of 18 2015 quarterback prospects selected to possibly the most prestigious QB camp in the country, Trent Dilfer's Elite 11 QB Camp. Oh yeah--he's also of 162 high school football players to play in The Opening, what 247sports.com calls an "all-star summer prospect camp." Both these events are held July 5-10 at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.
If you're not familiar with the Elite 11 camp and The Opening, click here for a great explanation from SB Nation.
After playing only three games his junior year, Darnold impressed scouts during the spring and earned four stars from ESPN.com. ESPN also rates Darnold the fifth best high school quarterback in the country.
Here's Darnold's ESPN Scouting Report (Insider) from ESPN Recruiting Nation Football:
"Size-Strength-Mobility Possesses prototypical, ideal measurables for the position. Is tall and long with adequate bulk and huge frame development upside. Is only going to get bigger and stronger. Surprisingly, he's a really good athlete who has the look of a pocket passer. He is a passer first, runner second, what is really nimble footed and navigates the pocket really well. Is more than capable of buying second passing chances when things break down.
Mental-Makeup Is very calm and poised. Has a nice feel for what the scheme asks of him. Good pocket awareness. Makes quick, good decisions in both the passing game and the running game. Shows the ability to throw the ball with defenders in his face. Tough, will not shy away from contact when running the football. Good ball handler. Is a really good athlete and a tough runner that knows when to fight for the tough yardage. Is not too quick to leave the pocket, but when he does he makes sound decisions.
Accuracy Is coordinated and pretty sound in his footwork and set up. Flashes good touch on the deep ball. Throws effectively to either side, with good zip on short and intermediate passes, when on the move. Can be very accurate when his feet are under him. Shows the RPMs to fit the ball into tight spots underneath. Is at his best when he's in rhythm and throwing on time to a spot. Knows this offense well and has a good relationship with his receivers to throw them open and anticipate breaks.
Release/Arm Strength When he's in a balanced throwing position, he can unload the ball quickly and the ball carries with good velocity and power. Can be a little bit manufactured in his methods; robotic a bit, but very consistent in his delivery. Release is high and over the top. Carries the ball at chest level, does a nice job with his guard hand keeping both hands on the ball in traffic in the pocket. What he's throwing on platform to transfer his weight he can make every throw off the field with power and velocity. What impressive about him, is he can make difficult throws when off balance, across his body or on the run to either side. He's very consistent technically.
Bottom Line Darnold is going to see his recruitment heat up significantly as he goes into his senior year. We reminds us of Brock Osweiler when he was at Arizona State terms of style, measurables and athleticism. He's been well groomed all the technical side of the game and while he's a pocket passer first and foremost he could be used as an athlete which gives him big value.
Junior Eval STRENGTHS: Darnold is a poised pocket passer who makes good decisions with the football. Possesses a smooth, compact release. The ball is quickly come out of his hand. Does not rush or put the ball into coverage. Has the arm strength to stretch the field vertically. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Does not have great speed but is physical with the ball in his hand. Needs to polish ball handling skills. Can operate from under center but is average with the security of the ball. ... BOTTOM LINE: Darnold has good height and weight for the quarterback position. Has some tools to develop and mold. Could potentially land to a low-to mid-level BCS school."
Thirteen of the 18 Elite 11 QBs have at least verbally committed to their college. Darnold and the other four QBs who haven't yet committed may very well do so while in Beaverton. 247sports.com reports that Oregon and USC have the best chance to land Darnold, followed by Duke, Northwestern and Utah.
The Aztecs currently have four QBs on their 2015 roster: redshirt-sophomore Chase Favreau, senior Brad Odeman Jr., redshirt-freshman Nick Bawden, redshirt-freshman Chritian Chapman and redshirt junior (and Oregon transfer) Jake Rodrigues.
Fellow Mountain West team Air Force recently received a commitment from Ryan Brand, another Elite 11 QB.
Here are his (limited) 2013 highlights, courtesy of Hudl.