By Zach Cavanagh
San Clemente High School alum and Capistrano Beach native Sam Darnold was selected No. 3 overall by the New York Jets in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Darnold is the fourth former Triton to be selected in the NFL Draft — the third selected in the last three drafts — and will be the seventh to crack an NFL roster. Darnold is the second quarterback to be drafted from SCHS.
Welcome to the Big ?, Sam Darnold!
? NFLN/FOX/ESPN pic.twitter.com/z5Yw9VfgTB
— New York Jets (@nyjets) April 27, 2018
Currently in the NFL, Sean Harlow was selected No. 136 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2017 fourth round as a guard out of Oregon State, and Kyle Murphy was selected No. 200 overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 sixth round as a tackle out of Stanford.
Bill Kenney, a quarterback, was selected No. 333 overall by the Miami Dolphins in 1978 out of Northern Colorado. Kenney didn’t make the Dolphins roster that season, but in 1980, he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs and stayed with the team through 1988. Kenney was the third-string QB for the Washington Redskins in 1989 before his retirement.
Brian de la Puente went undrafted in 2008 out of Cal, and after offseason or practice squad stints with the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, de la Puente made the roster of the New Orleans Saints in 2010. After four seasons in New Orleans, de la Puente played one season each with the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins.
Kevin Murphy went undrafted in 2012 out of Harvard but played two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings as a tackle.
Trevor Insley went undrafted in 2000 out of Nevada but signed with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts assigned him to the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe in 2001, but he returned to the Colts to finish that season. He spent a season injured with the Houston Texans before signing with the Ottawa Renegades in the Canadian Football League in 2003.
Darnold is the highest-drafted USC quarterback since Mark Sanchez was drafted No. 5 overall in 2009 and highest-selected Trojan player since Reggie Bush was drafted No. 2 overall in 2006.
Darnold played three seasons of varsity football at San Clemente High School and led the Tritons to the 2014 CIF-SS Southwest Division championship game. Darnold threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior in that 2014 season with 785 yards and 13 touchdowns rushing.
Darnold also played three seasons of varsity basketball for San Clemente. He averaged over 14 points per game as a junior and senior to lead the Tritons in scoring each season. Darnold was twice a league MVP.
He also earned several football player and athlete of the year awards in his senior year at San Clemente.
Darnold was a redshirt in 2015 at USC and earned the starting quarterback role after one game in 2016. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns and led USC to a dramatic win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl. Last season, Darnold threw for a school-record 4,143 yards and 26 touchdowns as USC won the Pac-12 championship for the first time since 2008.
Follow coverage of the NFL Draft on Twitter @SouthOCSports.