After more than a season's worth of speculation, Sam Darnold announced his plans for 2018.
The star USC QB intends to forgo his remaining college eligibility and apply for early entry into the NFL draft. He made the announcement Wednesday on social media.
He joins a star-studded QB class that already includes Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, UCLA's Josh Rosen, who declared for the draft just minutes before Darnold, and Wyoming's Josh Allen.
Many evaluators consider Darnold the top QB prospect in the nation. He rose to the top of the charts in 2016, leading USC to nine straight wins after becoming the team's starter. He didn't quite play to expectations in 2017, but the bar was set very high for him and would have been almost to impossible to reach even if he had played cleaner football this season. Darnold was plagued by turnovers in 2017, yet he still managed to lead his team to a Pac-12 title.
There was speculation dating back to last summer that he might return to USC for the 2018 season, but Darnold has made up his mind that he's ready for the next level.