Within 30 minutes of one another, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen and Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold announced they will enter the NFL draft.
The Los Angeles rivals have a chance to be the first two quarterbacks taken and possibly among the first few players off the board in April.
Joining Rosen and Darnold in announcing NFL intentions Wednesday was Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown, another possible top-10 pick.
Rosen’s decision was no surprise. He has started for UCLA since his freshman season, though injuries cost him most of his sophomore year and this season he did not play in the Bruins’ Cactus Bowl loss against Kansas State because he was being treated for a concussion.
He passed for 9,301 yards with 59 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions in his college career, but UCLA never even so much as won a bowl game during his time there. He was close to fired UCLA coach Jim Mora, but Rosen said he discussed his decision with new Bruins coach Chip Kelly. After playing for three offensive coordinators in three seasons at UCLA he decided to move one. In his statement, Rosen said attending UCLA was “the best decision of my life.” He also promises his mother that he’ll return to Westwood to finish his degree.
There was more uncertainty about Darnold. He was a third-year sophomore this past season after sitting out as a redshirt as a freshman.
Darnold took over as the Trojans’ starting quarterback four games into last season as a redshirt freshman. He won the Rose Bowl in his first season with a record 453-yard, five-touchdown performance against Penn State, and he led the Trojans to their first Pac-12 championship since 2008 this season. He passed for 7,229 yards with 57 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions in 27 games behind center for the Trojans.
Brown is the son of the late former NFL player Orlando Brown, who was nicknamed Zeus and played for the Baltimore Ravens. The younger Brown is 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds, and an All-American this season.
Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis, linebacker Jeff Holland and tailback Kamryn Pettway announced they are skipping their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft. That comes a day after Tigers star tailback Kerryon Johnson declared his plans to turn pro.
Also, Washington State defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa, and Florida State tight end Ryan Izzo said they are passing up their final college seasons to enter the draft. Michigan defensive lineman Chase Winovich said he’s staying with the Wolverines for another year.
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.