Sam Darnold Highlights: 10 Ridiculous Plays as a USC Freshman

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Nov 5, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (14) is pressured by Oregon Ducks linebacker Troy Dye (35) during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC football’s Sam Darnold could be the No. 1 player in the 2018 NFL Draft. He put together a lengthy highlight reel as a freshman to earn the hype.

When Sam Darnold took over the quarterback job at USC, no one could have expected the first year starter to rise to the heights of college football’s elite so quickly, or to bring the Trojans from the brink of disaster to a stunning Rose Bowl victory.

The quarterback left USC fans in ecstasy and their opponents slack jawed as he led the Trojans to nine straight victories to end the 2016 season with a slew of outrageous displays of athleticism and poise along the way.

Without further ado, here’s the 10 most ridiculous Sam Darnold plays from his freshman campaign:


10. The Bailed Draw vs. ASU

Early on in his freshman season, Sam Darnold’s backyard-football style added something extra to USC’s offensive attack — improvisation.

That’s what the unpredictable QB brought to the table during USC’s October tilt with Arizona State at the Coliseum.

Early in the second quarter, with the Trojans holding a one-point advantage at 7-6, Darnold took a snap from the Sun Devil 37-yard line and whatever the play called for went outside the window.

Darnold pump faked a bubble screen to Deontay Burnett, then tucked the ball and ran forward on what appeared to be a draw. Only, the quarterback ran into traffic and bailed on that idea.

“Darnold trying to make something happen,” Joe Davis said as Darnold got his eyes back up, scooting around a defender while he rolled out, and found Burnett left all alone in the flat for a 15-yard gain.

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