Not surprisingly, Southern California’s darlings will have new starting quarterbacks next season. UCLA’s Josh Rosen and USC’s Sam Darnold have both announced that they will enter the NFL draft.
Rosen’s career was the closest semblance to a one-and-done that an NFL prospect can have. He’d been on NFL draft radars since his high school career in Manhattan Beach, California, so his announcement to forego his remaining eligibility is no surprise. He was able to show off his talent for the Bruins, but the success was individual as UCLA did not record a bowl win in his tenure as starting signal caller. His comments on academics and football not going together raised eyebrows:
“There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL,” Rosen said. “There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes, and then the product on the field suffers.”
Darnold was relatively unheralded going into USC, where he became the starting quarterback partway into his redshirt freshman season and led USC to a Rose Bowl win over Penn State. Some had speculated that Darnold would stay at USC for another year for the sole purpose of not being drafted by the Cleveland Browns, who are basically in their 200th year of needing a decent quarterback.
Both players are expected to go high in the first round of the draft and will likely be the first quarterbacks taken. There are a fair number of teams in need of new starting quarterbacks, so Rosen and Darnold could see regular NFL action starting next season.