Sam Darnold Bio : Early Life, NFL Girlfriend & Mono Diagnosis

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Sam Darnold is an American football player for the NFL Carolina Panthers. He was one of the NFL’s youngest opening-day starting quarterbacks. He initially started as a wide receiver and linebacker and later became the school’s quarterback.

Darnold played for New York Jets as a quarterback from the 2018 draft to 2020 and now is a Carolina Panthers player since 2021.

Sam is the youngest quarterback to post a higher than 110 quarterback rating at twenty-one in the history of the NFL.

Sam Darnold Of Carolina Panthers (Source: The Viking Age)

We will discover all about him from his unuttered past to unfold achievements to date. But before that, let’s not delay and look at the easy and basic quick facts about the young quarterback, Sam Darnold.

Sam Darnold | Quick Facts

Full Name Samuel Richard Darnold
Birth Date June 5, 1997
Birth Place Dana Point, California
Nick Name Sam
Religion Christian
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Education San Clemente, University of Southern California
Horoscope Gemini
Father’s Name Michael Darnold
Mother’s Name Chris Darnold
Grandfather’s Name Richard Bernard “Dick” Hammer (1930-1999)
Siblings Franki Darnold (older sister)
Age 26 Years Old
Height 6’2″ (1.9 m)
Weight 102 kg (225 lb.)
Jersey No 14
Hair Color Light Brown
Eye Color Dark Brown
NFL Draft 2018, Round:1, Pick:3
Build Athlete
Marital Status Not Married
Ex-Girlfriend Claire Kirksey
Position Quarterback
Profession NFL player
Net Worth $30 million
Salary $7,561,929 average annual salary
Currently Plays for Carolina Panthers
League NFL
Active Since 2018-present
Social Media Instagram
Merch  Funko Pop, Jersey & Rookie Card
Last Update May, 2024

Sam Darnold | Early Life

Sam was born on June 5, 1997, to his parents, Michael Darnold and Chris Darnold, in Dane Point, California.

He grew up alongside his older sister, Franki. Sam and his sister gelled along quite well. They used to watch “Spongebob Square Pants’, the cartoon.

He then watched ESPN with his Father. He began playing basketball when he was just five.

As a child, Sam used to play different sports, such as basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, and taekwondo.

The sole reason behind this was his parents wanted him to be versatile and energetic.

Nevertheless, his parents never pressured him to choose a specific sport. Sam was free to play according to his will. He was always grounded in the right way.

A quick, interesting fact, he was an early entrant in his life. He was born two weeks before the specified date weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces.

Family Circle

Undoubtedly, Sam was brought up in an entirely athletic family. Sam’s Father, Michael, served as an offensive lineman at the University of Redlands in California.

Sam’s mother, Chris, played volleyball at Long Beach City College. Currently, she serves as a physical education teacher at Shorecliffs Middle School.

His older sister Frankie is also a volleyball player at the University of Rhode Island.

Sam With His Family (Source: New York Jets)

His grandfather, Dick Hammer, was an American athlete, firefighter, and Actor. Dick was a basketball player at USC, a Marlboro man in cigarette advertisements in the 1960s and 1970s. He also competed in Volleyball in the 1964 Summer Olympics.

Hammer also played a role in the first season of Jack Webb’s produced TV show “Emergency!” but left his acting job as he felt it more rewarding to be a firefighter rather than an Actor.

Sam Darnold | High School Career

Sam went to San Clemente High School in California. For his first year, he played baseball and later played both basketball and football.

He played basketball exceptionally well, leading him to win South Coast League Most Valuable Player twice. He was also titled to the California Interscholastic Federation team initially.

According to his basketball coach Marc Popovich, his basketball skills played the main role in turning him into a DEFENSIVE FOOTBALL player. 

Sam was touched by the opportunity to play as a college basketball player in Pac-12 Conference or Mountain West Conference.

As a sophomore, Sam was a swingman in varsity basketball and a starting linebacker/wide receiver for varsity football teams.

He got to play a quarterback first as his team’s starting quarterback was injured. 

He became an alleged quarterback when he broke the record for the most touchdown passes.

Sam could not play spontaneously in his junior year as he suffered a foot injury. He successfully participated in the CIF-Southern Section Southwest Division championship game for his senior year to lead his team to a 12-2 record.

Sam summed up his high school career with 3,000 passing yards and 39 touchdowns, along with 800 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.

Sam Playing For His High School Team (Source: San Clemente Times), a four-star recruit, also rated him the eighth-best dual-threat quarterback in his class and the 179th-best player.

Sam Darnold | College Career

After observing his multi-sport personality, many universities, such as Oregon, Utah, Northwestern, and Duke, offered him scholarships.

Further, Clay Helton and Steve Sarkisian, USC coaches, became a helping hand and led him to a scholarship to play for the Trojans.

Well, for the first year at college, Sam was redshirted. His first game was against the Utah Utes but unfortunately lost to it.

He conquered it all when he captured five touchdown passes in consecutive games and became the first quarterback in college history to do so.

Sam was entitled to the Freshman Offensive Player of the Year in the 2016 Pac-12 Conference.

Not only that, he participated in the 2017 Rose Bowl for USC. He was honored with the  Archie Griffin Award and was entitled to the Freshman All-America team.

Moreover, Sam became an early favorite for the Heisman Trophy. He also led his team to win over the 2017 Stanford Cardinal team, Texas Longhorns. 

He headed his team to the Pac-12 Conference championship and earned a final position in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.

His stats were fascinating in college football:57 touchdowns and 3000 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and 332 rushing yards.

Sam Darnold | Professional Career

The New York Jets drafted him in the first round, with the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft. Sam agreed to a four-year contract worth $30.25 million.

Sam Darnold In Jets Jersey (Source: New York Jets)

Not to mention, Sam was entitled the starter for Week 1 when he played in the first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons and led to a 17-0 win.

Along with his team, he faced tough competitions against the Detroit Lions, the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Denver Broncos.

Sam missed three games due to a foot injury but returned to action in Week 14 against the Buffalo Bills.

He played for the Jets from 2018-2020, where he played 38 games and started all of them.

During his time in the Jets, his stats were; 8097 yards and 54 passing touchdowns, and 417 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns.

In April 2021, Sam was traded to Carolina Panthers for a guaranteed $18.85 million for the 2022 season.

For the Carolina Panthers, he played for 12 games, starting in 11 of them, before suffering an ankle injury ruling him out for 4-6 weeks.

So far, for the Panthers, he has 2527 yards and 9 passing touchdowns, 222 yards, and 5 rushing touchdowns.

Comments on Sam Darnold

Since there is a saying, every coin has two sides. Similarly, life has stored some good and bad phases for us. Let’s check out what good and bad comments highlighted Sam’s career.

Sam lost a fumble throwing four interceptions during a match against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.

Sam Losing The Ball (Source: Rome Sentinel)

Well, there might be his reasons for not being able to handle that ball, but that turned into a specific act of mockery by the rival team’s fans.

This happened when NFL films caught a sound bite where ESPN commented on Darnold as “seeing ghosts.” Precisely because he was seen struggling during the game.

Moving on to some good talks about the man. However, Sam was not recognized as a running quarterback.

But he was able to throw the ball on the run. He was quick, which helped him to escape pressure. Henceforth, people also called him a “gunslinger.”

You might be interested in knowing about Cairo Santos Bio.

Sam Darnold | Awards and Achievements

  • He was a First-team All-Pac-12 for the year 2017.
  • He won the Rose Bowl Champion in 2017.
  • Sam was the winner of the Archie Griffin Award for the year 2016.
  • He also grabbed the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2016.
  • Sam was the youngest quarterback to post a passer rating higher than 110 (116.8) at the age of 21 and 97 days old.
  • He was rewarded AFC Offensive player of the week in week 6, 2019. 

Sam Darnold | Jersey

Darnold wore jersey number 14 for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL. Here’s a picture of Darnold wearing his Panthers jersey:

Darnold In His Panthers Jersey (Source: Empire Sports Media)

Here’s a photo of Darnold wearing his Panthers jersey.

Sam Darnold | Personal Life

In his personal life, Sam is not married yet but is in a relationship with Claire Kirksey. They started dating in 2017.

Claire went to the University of Southern California, which explains where they met and fell in love.

She lives in Huntington Beach, California, and she also played softball in school. She was seen cheering for Sam at USC. The duo was also spotted having fun at a concert in 2018 in Los Angeles.

Are they still dating?

Sam and Claire called it quits in 2021 and are no longer together. He is reported to be single currently.

Sam With His Ex-girlfriend (Source: The Sports Daily)

A quick fact, which is not mentioned in the table, before Claire, Sam was found to be in a relationship with Summer, the girl from his high school.

She now studies at San Diego State.

Keeping this dating info aside, Sam, being a hunk, does not have tattoos or piercings on his body. He also doesn’t pose shirtless often.

Sam Darnold was sidelined after Mono’s Diagnosis.

Sam was sidelined for an indefinite period after being diagnosed with mononucleosis, commonly known as the kissing disease.

He was not sure how he got infected as symptoms usually take 4-6 weeks to manifest after getting infected.

This disease is transmitted when a person comes in contact with body fluids such as semen, saliva, and blood and by sharing food, drinks, utensils, or any material that comes in touch with the infected person’s saliva.

Typically mono results in extreme fatigue, fever, sore throat, head and body aches, swollen lymph nodes, a swollen liver, and a rash.

Sam Darnold | Net Worth

Sam was an early entrant as a quarterback in the NFL for the New York Jets. Since then, he has been accumulating best for the Jets.

He was the one to set the youngest quarterback sensation trend in the NFL.

Furthermore, talking about his contracts and salary, New York Jets pay him an annual average salary of $7,561,929 with a $20,078,338 signing bonus, according to

Carolina Panthers offered to pay him around $18.85 million in his contract.

Sam Darnold is estimated to have an accumulated net worth of around $30 million as of 2020.

Sam Darnold | Seeing Ghosts Comment

To Sam Darnold, seeing ghosts comment is straight up and makes him feel better on a rough day.

Social Media Presence

Talking about social media presence, Sam is quite finite. He can be caught only on Instagram with the handle @samdarnold.

Scrolling through his Instagram profile might give you an overall view of his personal and professional life. He is often spotted hanging out with his friends for sports or adventure tours.

Instagram: 194K Followers


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sam Darnold (@samdarnold)

He keeps posting about his travel stories, random adventure trips, pictures with teammates, or sports-related videos but never bores his followers.

Sam Darnold | Popularity

Sam Darnold is a popular name amongst football fans. The below image shows Sam’s popularity graph in the United States over 90 days.

Sam Popularity Graph (Source: Google Trends)

Sam Darnold | FAQs

What happened to Sam Darnold?

After his ankle injury, he was left out of the squad after a subpar 2021 season.

What is Sam Darnold’s quarterback rating?

His rating is 71.9.

Is Sam coming back?

Quarterback Sam Darnold and defensive tackle Bravvion Roy were designated to return from injured reserve and will be on the practice field.

Hello there, all you beautiful people, Why not give a worthwhile read to another article, Ray-Ray McCloud – Early Life, NFL, Personal Life & Net Worth?

Anjali Gupta
Anjali Gupta

Anjali Gupta

Anjali Gupta is a passionate sports journalist with a deep love for athletics. Her dedication to the world of sports shines through in her writing, where she combines insightful analysis with compelling storytelling to engage readers.


Sports Journalism Athlete Profiles


  • Anjali has a proven track record of delivering compelling stories and in-depth profiles of athletes from various disciplines.
  • Her ability to capture the essence of sporting events and the journeys of athletes sets her apart in the field of sports journalism.


Anjali's journey in sports journalism began with her fascination for athletes' stories and the thrill of competition. Over the years, she has cultivated her skills, delving into the intricacies of different sports and sharing the triumphs and struggles of athletes through her writing.

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  1. […] to Players Bio, Darnold agreed to a four-year contract with the New York Jets, which is worth $30.25 million. […]


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