Darnell was the 69th overall pick in the Draft after a third-team All-American junior season where he hit .306 with 19 home runs, 81 RBIs, 13 doubles and 52 runs scored.
"He looks like he has a good frame on him," said Padres manager Bud Black about the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Darnell. "I brought him in my office and he has a nice personality. He's a good kid. I like him."
Darnell, who had been in town for the past couple of days watching the last two games of the Milwaukee Brewers series, took batting practice and fielded some ground balls Friday for the first time as a member of the Padres organization.
"It's unbelievable," Darnell said. "I've just been enjoying the atmosphere. It's pretty exciting."
Darnell, who is from Danville, Calif., in the Bay Area, has had his family with him while being in San Diego, a place his family is glad he was drafted.
"They love San Diego," Darnell said. "I played at the University of South Carolina, so when we saw it on Draft day, we were just jumping up and down because, with San Diego, you couldn't pick a nicer area to be."
Darnell was able to sign before the 9 p.m. PT deadline for unsigned Draft picks to sign with their teams.
"It was a little tough because you want to go out and play," Darnell said. "But it's just a process. I knew my options. You can go play independent ball or go back to South Carolina. But when it came down to it, it just seems like it's my time and the Padres are my team. It's a good match, so I have to go for it, don't want to pass it up."
Darnell will be heading to Class A Eugene Saturday afternoon.
Ronald Clark is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.