First Round Draft Pick
Darnold totaled 7,229 passing yards, 57 passing touchdowns, 332 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns in the two seasons he played for the University of Southern California.
In 2016, he lead USC to a Rose Bowl win over Penn State where he set Rose Bowl records for passing touchdowns (five) and total yards (453). Following the bowl game victory, he became the first-ever freshman to win the Archie Griffin Award, an honor that is handed out annually to the nation's most valuable player for the entire season. In 2017, he threw for over 4,000 yards and earned MVP honors in the Pac-12 Championship Game, a 31-28 win over Stanford.
The quarterback went on to be drafted No. 3 overall by the New York Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Impressive Rookie Stats
In Darnold's 2018 rookie season, he started 13 games for the Jets and threw for 2,865 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He set a Jets franchise record for highest passer rating by a rookie quarterback (77.6).
AFC Offensive Player of the Week
In Week 6 of the 2019 season, Darnold was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week following his performance in the Jets 24-22 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Against the Cowboys, he completed 71.9% of his passes (23-for-32) for 338 yards and two touchdowns for a 117.6 passer rating.
Growing up, Darnold played a plethora of sports, including baseball, soccer, taekwondo, basketball and football.
As a child, he was a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan and NBA enthusiast. "Basketball was my first love," Darnold said, "I loved it just because it was so fast." Darnold played basketball throughout high school and focused solely on football once he reached college.
Bay Area Reunion
Darnold has close ties to some of the other new faces of the 49ers. The quarterback reunites with former Carolina Panthers teammate and current 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey who was acquired via trade in Week 7 of the 2022 season, and former Panthers head coach Steve Wilks, now San Francisco's defensive coordinator.
"He's such a good guy off the field and he demands respect when he's on the field," McCaffrey said. "He's just a football guy. All he wants to do is win and that shows in how he approaches the game and how he carries himself."
Wilks described Darnold as a "very smart individual and extremely athletic."