Last week saw Utah fail to make the top five of one top 2015 target, Brighton outside linebacker Osa Masina.
Friday, Utah lost out on another priority prep, as Orange County quarterback Sam Darnold announced his intent to attend USC.
It may not make it sting any less, but Sam’s father, Michael, called The Tribune at the end of his workday Friday to deliver a message to Ute fans:
1. The San Clemente High senior “loves growing up in Southern California,” Michael said. “He wished there was a University of San Clemente.”
2. He was raised a Trojans fan.
3. The Elite 11 finalist is fond of Steve Sarkisian’s offense and, despite USC having secured a commitment from 2015 five-star Ricky Town, believes he has a strong chance to earn playing time.
... and 4. He’s close friends with Christian Tober, a walk-on USC wide receiver who played at San Clemente when current Ute Travis Wilson was quarterback.
BUT: “Despite all those factors, Utah was always either at or right near the top of his list,” Michael said.
Sam grew close to Utah quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick, and Michael said it was a difficult for him to call Roderick on Friday morning.
Utah was the first to offer the 6-foot-4, dual-threat signal caller as a sophomore, before he missed most of his junior season with a foot injury. Utah coaches told San Clemente coach Jaime Ortiz at the time that they thought he would “blow up.”
It was their bad fortune that they were right.
Ortiz earlier this week described Darnold as a “born leader,” who is more of a dual-threat quarterback than Wilson was as a high schooler.
— Matthew Piper