Earlier this week, Sam Darnold’s father reminded him where he was a year ago at this time.
Darnold was in Texas, preparing for the Cotton Bowl with his USC teammates. That game against Ohio State would be his last college game.
“It’s crazy,” Darnold said Wednesday, shaking his head and smiling.
Flash forward 12 months and Darnold has been through a life-changing year. He declared for the draft, went through that entire process, was picked by the Jets third overall and became the youngest quarterback to start his team’s opener in NFL history.
“It’s funny how there’s the dichotomy like it’s flown by,” Darnold told The Post in a one-on-one interview after team meetings. “I feel like everything is happening fast, like ‘oh my gosh, we’re already here in Week 16.’ But at the same time I feel like the Cotton Bowl is so long ago. Even, shoot, Week 1 playing Detroit and playing Cleveland, those games I feel like happened so long ago. It’s pretty crazy how everything’s happened.”
For Jets fans, Darnold is the beacon of hope in another lost season. The Jets are 4-11 entering their season finale against the Patriots on Sunday. This is the team’s third straight losing season and fourth in five years. The Jets have not made the playoffs since 2010 and the organization is about to undergo change again with an expected head coaching switch.