Top-rated QB to pick between Trojans, Sooners, others Wed.

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Nearly 10 months out from National Signing Day, the nation’s top quarterback in the Class of 2013 is nearly ready to make a decision on where he will send his football talents.

Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline High School product Max Browne is rated as a five-star player by 24/7Sport.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com, and is the top QB — pro-style or dual-threat — according to all three services.  Suffice to say, Browne carries scholarship offers from most of the major Div. 1-A football programs, but has his to-do list whittled down publicly to a final four — Alabama, Oklahoma, USC and home-state Washington.

Browne confirmed Monday to the Seattle Times that, on Wednesday, he will give a verbal commitment to one of those four schools.  The 6-5, 202-pounder told the Times that he’s just ready to make a decision and move on so that he can begin concentrating on his senior season in high school.

“It was getting hectic and to the point where I knew I’d seen enough,” Browne, who will announce his decision tomorrow evening following a workout with his teammates, said. “”I got my first scholarship offer a couple days after my freshman year in high school, so I’ve been in the process long enough. I’ve been fortunate economically with my parents to go around the country and visit places that had interest in me and I had interest in them.

“As more and more offers came in, I was able to evaluate schools, talk to a bunch of coaches and meet some great ones but, at this point, I’ve seen enough. It’s time to pull the trigger so I can move on to Skyline football and winning another state title.”

Browne’s two most recent visits have been to the Sooners (earlier in March) and the Trojans (this past weekend), leading Rivals to write that those  two schools “are believed to be the finalists“.  Presumably, “finalists” in this case refers to “front-runners”.

The trip to USC was his second, having visited the Trojans during Junior Day.  He also has a brother who lives in Southern California, although Browne stated that will not be a factor in his decision.

Browne was expected to take an official visit to the Tide, although that didn’t happen and, based on the timing of his scheduled announcement, won’t happen.

In the past two seasons, Browne has thrown for more than 8,200 yards and 95 touchdowns against just 20 interceptions in 840 pass attempts.  247Sports has him rated as the No. 5 player at any position in the country, while Rivals has him at No. 8.

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.