Sam Darnold, Cameron Smith on 2017 Sporting News preseason All-America team

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Sam Darnold /

USC Football placed two Trojans on the 2017 Sporting News preseason All-America team with quarterback Sam Darnold and linebacker Cameron Smith making the first team.

The Sporting News was the first of the major All-American selectors to release their preseason team on Wednesday, voting USC Football’s Sam Darnold and Cameron Smith to the 2017 first team.

Darnold, who is considered one of the premiere quarterbacks in the country heading into his redshirt sophomore season, was named the first-team quarterback ahead of Lousiville’s Lamar Jackson.

After earning the starting job four games into his redshirt freshman campaign, Darnold led USC to a Rose Bowl victory and came away with more than a few individual honors. He won the Archie Griffin Award as college football’s most valuable player. He was also named the Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year and was voted to the FWAA Freshman All-American team.

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At linebacker, Smith also received first-team recognition alongside Micah Kiser of Virginia and Josey Jewell of Iowa.

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Smith was a Campus Insiders sophomore All-American and All-Pac-12 second team selection in 2016. He led USC in tackles even as he got back to full speed recovering from the knee injury which ended his freshman season in 2015.

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Preseason All-America teams may not count for much, but it is worth noting that The Sporting News votes for one of the five All-America teams recognized by the NCAA for designating unanimous or consensus honors at the end of the year, as well as for the purposes of Hall of Fame eligibility.