San Clemente, Calif., coach Jaime Ortiz has been talking up quarterback Sam Darnold for more than a year. His words are being backed up this spring as the three-star keeps landing offers.
"I've been beating the drum for months," Ortiz said. "Even last year, Utah was the first one to offer during this time last year in spring ball and I told the Utah coaches that this kid is going to be special. They were the first ones to see it.
"Ever since Sam threw last year in the spring, I could tell he was going to be special.
"We've had a pretty good run at San Clemente High School. We had Chase Retting, Travis Wilson, we've had a pretty good run at quarterbacks. Sam is showing some signs of being the best of the group."
Utah offered first and since then Colorado State, Duke, Nevada, Northwestern, Oregon State, San Diego State, Tennessee and Wake Forest have gotten involved.
It has been a slow process for Darnold, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound prospect who shined at the Elite 11 this past weekend, but things have drastically picked up during spring workouts.
"Utah was the first one to offer and said that's going to be one of many more to come," Ortiz said. "For some reason, it didn't really happen but junior year he showed some signs of that. Because of injury he wasn't able to complete the season but I still believe in the fact that coaches need to look at this kid, he's something special.
"It's now good to see college programs are starting to recognize it. Sam is not a big 7on7 guy, that's not what he likes to do, he just likes to go out with teammates and do the best he can. He wasn't on the 7on7 circuit but on the flip side his hard work is paying off. I think it's going to pick up even more in the next week or two."
San Clemente is holding a nigh practice on Wednesday and many college coaches are expected to be in attendance. Ortiz said around 20 schools have said they'll be there. If Ortiz is right about Darnold, even more offers could be coming for the San Clemente quarterback.
"It's all part of the plan for Sam and the program," Ortiz said. "The night practice we have, there are going to be 15-20 coaches who have already said they're going to be there and that can increase once coaches see what Sam can do.
"Some people thought I was crazy but the guy is legit. I would put him up against any quarterback on the West Coast or in the nation."