At the end of the year, he had 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Darnold wasn’t even the starter when the 2016 season began, but junior Max Browne struggled in a 1-2 start to the season. The freshman was handed the reins and lost his first start, then led the Trojans to nine consecutive wins to finish the season, including a 52-49 win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
The impressive run for USC got the hype train rolling at full speed, with Darnold overshadowing players in a 2017 draft class that he wasn’t even in:
Things continued into the summer when Darnold broke records as a counselor at a quarterback camp that has previously featured players like Deshaun Watson, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel. He also made ridiculous throws to receivers off the back of a boat, and entered the 2017 season as the Heisman Trophy favorite ahead of 2016 winner Lamar Jackson.
It’s going to be a difficult road for the Texans with their two best defenders out for the rest of the year, but perhaps this season things will shift and Watson and Houston’s offense will carry the defense for a change.
The NFLPA was right to expect an unfavorable outcome. Henderson upheld Elliott’s suspension, and Elliott’s representatives petitioned Judge Amos Mazzant in the Eastern District Court of Texas for an emergency injunction that would lift Elliott’s suspension until a decision was reached on the court case. Mazzant ruled in favor of the NFLPA, saying in his decision that the NFL did not give Elliott a fundamentally fair hearing. That allowed Elliott to continue playing.
The league has been unwilling to live with that decision. The NFL appealed to Mazzant with an emergency motion for a stay of the injunction. Mazzant is the one who issued the decision on the injunction, and it would be unusual for a judge to overturn his own ruling. So the league also took its motion to the 5th Circuit appellate court as a backup plan, claiming Mazzant lacked jurisdiction.