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USC it is: top ’13 QB tabs Trojans over Sooners, Tide, Huskies

Max Browne, Austin Owen, Cody Eldridge AP

And the quarterback rich get richer, at least on recruiting service paper.

At a press conference held at his Sammamish, Wash., high school Wednesday night, Max Browne, the consensus top quarterback in the Class of 2013, announced that he has given his (non-binding) verbal commitment to USC and will play football for the Trojans beginning next year. Browne had whittled his list down to a final four of the Trojans, Oklahoma, Alabama and home-state Washington in recent weeks, although it was widely reported in the days leading up to the announcement that it was actually a two-horse race between USC and OU.

In the end, Browne said, it was the ability to fulfill a lifelong dream that led to his commitment to USC.

“USC came into the picture several months ago and, ever since then, they really went after me hard,” Browne said according to the Seattle Times. “As a quarterback growing up on the West Coast, at least for me personally, there was always the dream of growing up and being the quarterback for the Trojans.”

Browne took two visits to USC this year, including one this past weekend in which he actually sat in on QB meetings, that appears to have sealed the deal for the Trojans.  He also visited the Sooners in March.

The Skyline High School product 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.  247Sports has him rated as the No. 5 player at any position in the country, while Rivals has him at No. 8.  He’s the first QB to commit to USC’s Class of 2013 and the third verbal overall.

The past two seasons, Browne, who took over as Skyline’s starter following the graduation of former BYU and current Kansas QB Jake Heaps, has thrown for more than 8,200 yards and 95 touchdowns against just 20 interceptions in 840 pass attempts.

If Browne’s verbal holds firm and he signs with the Trojans in February of 2013 — or, as seems likely, Browne follows through with his plans to graduate early from high school and enrolls at USC in January — at least one of USC’s stable of touted QBs will likely transfer out even as starter Matt Barkley will be departing after this season, presumably leaving the job wide open entering next spring. As Max Wittek (No. 3 QB in the country, Class of 2011) and Cody Kessler (No. 2 QB, Class of 2011) are currently engaged in a back-and-forth battle for the backup job behind Barkley this spring, Jesse Scroggins (No. 5 QB, Class of 2010) and his battles with academic issues would’ve been the most likely attrition candidate even before Browne’s official verbal commitment.

Prior to Browne making his decision public, Wittek said he would welcome the competition a prospect like Browne would bring to the position.

I think it’s great,” Wittek said after practice Tuesday. “It’s USC. They’re not going to stop recruiting or looking for the best guys.”

“I’m going to go to USC to compete, try to mix things up,” Browne said at his announcement. “I’ve been to their quarterback meetings and practices and seen firsthand Cody Kessler, Max Wittek and Jesse Scroggins. They’re great quarterbacks. There’s a reason they’re at USC.

While Browne’s likely addition adds to the embarrassing riches Lane Kiffin & Company have procured at the position, it’s reasonable to assume that the Huskies took the biggest hit with Browne’s decision.  Yes, UW has itself accumulated an impressive stable of signal callers under Steve Sarkisian, but to lose an in-state talent like Browne to a Pac-12 rival like USC is a significant one-two punch to UW’s recruiting gut.

The school that was likely “least” impacted by Browne’s decision?  The Tide.  Sure, it would’ve been nice to add a five-star talent under center, but Nick Saban has already proven with Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron that he can win a BcS title or two with a player at the most critical position in football a few doors down — or, in the former’s case, a block or two down — from the No. 1 spot in the recruiting rankings.

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40 Responses to “USC it is: top ’13 QB tabs Trojans over Sooners, Tide, Huskies”
  1. papabush88 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:19 PM

    Class of 2013 looking good. Got No. 1 QB for class of 2015 too.

  2. uscatjerseyshore says: Apr 4, 2012 11:24 PM

    When the announcment was planned for 10pm CDT it seemed unlikely that Alabama or Oklahoma were goining to be picked. Once again Coach Kiffin proves his ability to recruit top players. To be the best you need to play for the best. Fight On!!

  3. cowboys8819 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:28 PM

    Well he can go there and play weak competition and get wins and then get the wins taken away or the coach will just leave! Good luck kid!

  4. thekatman says: Apr 4, 2012 11:29 PM

    SC is the team to beat this decade and perhaps the next one, too.

    Fight On brothers and sisters.
    Beat everybody!

  5. papabush88 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:29 PM

    Pathetic, cowboys8819. It’s not our fault USC has most players in NFL currently and all time.

  6. pastortodd78 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:34 PM

    As a Sooner fan I am happy with this announcement. I hope Browne has a good career at USC. OU needs to quit worrying about national recruit and go get the home state kids like Brayden Scott. The best Sooner qb’s lately have been the less heralded kids from in-state like Sam Bradford & Jason White.

  7. papabush88 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:35 PM

    Not surprised he chose USC. Sooners are choke artists and Tide have no idea how to develop a QB. Sark over at UW can actually coach QBs but Huskies are nowhere near as powerful as Trojans. No one really is. What other team can endure egregious sanctions like USC, finish 5th, and be favorite to win it all following year?

  8. papabush88 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:36 PM

    And to pastortodd, you guys got someone maybe even better than Browne. That RB Ford looks awesome. USC definitely needs a RB.

  9. papabush88 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:39 PM

    Can someone get cowboys8819 a wamburger with some French cries? Taking away wins is ludicrous. Only the NCAA could conjure up something so stupid.

  10. lasseter1113 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:43 PM

    Good get for USC, congratulations, but I have to ask. Why is it everywhere I look on the web there are USC fans claiming to have already won the National Championship next year and pretty much for the next decade? What’s up with that???

  11. arizonapetdoctor says: Apr 4, 2012 11:50 PM

    I am the first to admit I am a huge Trojans fan, but what I don’t understand is the apparently overpowering need/desire/compulsion for some fans to childishly insult any program which is not their own. Whether it is a conference rivalry, or just between upper echelon schools, most times it just makes the poster come across as bitter, uneducated, and apparently angry and anybody and everybody he can blame for the fact that no matter how hard he tries, he remains a virgin. It comes across much better for the person and their program loyalty to be gracious, and realize that this is a college sport that is for all to enjoy

  12. choochoorider says: Apr 4, 2012 11:53 PM

    Guess he will get SUBPAR coaching!! Lane is not a good coach and a cheater!!

  13. lasseter1113 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:54 PM

    Amen arizona, A-freakin-men!!!

  14. papabush88 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:57 PM

    Choochoorider: how did Lane cheat? He was cleared of all allegations. It was Pearl, the basketball coach that got Tennessee in trouble.

    And Arizonapetdoctor: I year what you’re saying, but come on. Don’t be such a defeatist. Sorry if we have pride and get excited for our alma mater.

  15. papabush88 says: Apr 5, 2012 12:05 AM

    Normally I wouldn’t be saying the things I’m saying. Probably abrasive to some. But I’m Very proud to be a Trojan and to come from a long line of Trojans. But people need to understand that USC got some of the most unfair and excessive penalties handed by the NCAA. The severity of the punishment received made no sense then and even less sense now with schools like North Carolina, Miami, Oregon, and Ohio State involved in far worse things. In the Reggie Bush scandal, Reggie was the only USC-affiliated person involved. That’s it. Not Pete Carroll. Not Mike Garrett. Yet Reggie seemed to be the only one that was not punished. Instead USC was for not knowing what one player did 150 miles from campus. No cover ups like Oregon and Ohio State with tressel. And now, in middle of these ridiculous sanctions, USC finished fifth in country last season and is odds favorite to win it all in 2012. I’m sorry, but it is time to rise back to the top, and give the well deserved finger to the NCAA and all those that ignorantly called us cheaters for something one person was involved in.

  16. arizonapetdoctor says: Apr 5, 2012 12:11 AM

    Papabush: pride for your university is one thing, and you definitely should have it. It is the negativity towards ones rivals using Internet gossip, unfounded accusations, and blatant untruths (re cheating sanctions etc) that make people look like the mental and maturity equivalent of a gerbil with a hard-on. I am all for propping your fan base up, but tearing another team down just seems un-needed. At no point i am implying you are doing this pb88. Just read lots of these comment sections, and you can pick out (with likely amazing success) which posters live in their family’s basement and own multiple magazines with the pages stuck together. Just saying

  17. papabush88 says: Apr 5, 2012 12:13 AM

    Arizonapetdoctor: my bad. And well said. Haha. Fight on, brother. What is funny about this particular article was that non-USC fans wanted this player so badly and commented on this article about how much they don’t care.

  18. papabush88 says: Apr 5, 2012 12:15 AM

    Additionally, for me, I cared BIG time when DeAnthony Thomas switched from us to Oregon. I knew he was gonna be good. But I never acted like “we don’t need him. He sucks and Oregon sucks.” That would be pathetic.

  19. arizonapetdoctor says: Apr 5, 2012 12:17 AM

    Read the espn comment section. It shows. Reminds me of the kids that talk their exploits up so much that you know they are hiding something. Washington fans seemed to be the worst. Went ballistic on miller for even suggesting that losing a five star player in UWs own backyard to a conference rival was a problem. Go figure.

  20. papabush88 says: Apr 5, 2012 12:21 AM

    I think that all depends. I was on another blog today and the Washington fan was standing up for USC when all these SEC fans were talking smack on USC. Oregon fans can be good and bad. Their recent success/relevance (2008-present) has gotten to the heads of some. And its not “that” much success. One rose bowl win. Close one against weak Wisconsin. And a loss in title game and loss in rose bowl to Ohio St. Still, I like Oregon. Fun team.

  21. arizonapetdoctor says: Apr 5, 2012 12:24 AM

    Likewise how I felt with DAT, and actually about our abundance of transfers this year. I wish them success, but at the same time understand that the day in day out competition against the players at the highest levels of competition (Oregon, lsu, Alabama, USC, and a few others) is not for all players. It takes a certain mentality to say to oneself that “I not only want to play, but i want to beat out the best to get that opportunity to play”. That is what makes teams great. Finding those players that have the fire to get on the field regardless of the skill of the players in front of them

  22. arizonapetdoctor says: Apr 5, 2012 12:35 AM

    Oregon is a fun team to play because anything can happen. Both teams are so athletic. As a conference we should want other programs to increase in strength. It will benefit all. I can’t stand hearing about the SEC conference scheduling gauntlet wich allows for their fans to forget their average OOC schedule. Our PAC-12 championship should expect to produce a BCS NC participant every year. Rivalries with respect will only strengthen us

  23. cowboys8819 says: Apr 5, 2012 1:00 AM

    Nobody is crying here. I am a die hard OU fan and I’m glad he didn’t choose us. Because I do like our in state recruits better. As far as the most players in the NFL you may have us beat there but at least the ones we put in the NFL can actually play and stay on teams that spent 1st round picks on them!

  24. papabush88 says: Apr 5, 2012 1:04 AM

    Not sure what you mean by your last comment, cowboy8819. If memory serves, 1st rounders like clay Matthews and Brian Gushing, Tyron Smith, and Troy Polamalu are doing just fine

  25. papabush88 says: Apr 5, 2012 1:14 AM

    And other pro bowlers not selected in first round like Steve Smith and Ryan Kalil (best and highest paid center ever).

  26. frug says: Apr 5, 2012 1:37 AM

    Say what you want about Lane Kiffin, but the fact he continues to pull in top recruits left and right despite heavy sanctions is nothing short of miraculous.

  27. addict2sport says: Apr 5, 2012 1:38 AM

    cowboy I think your chaps are too tight. USC has had far more players enjoy long term NFL success than 1st rd busts. Google it.

  28. pdcooper08 says: Apr 5, 2012 1:46 AM

    After watching this kids highlights, I can see he is very talented. Physically he is very sound, moves well in the pocket and throws the ball with a lot of touch down the middle. He looks to have a strong arm as his throws well down the side lines and out routes.

    I don’t know how football smart he is, but from the looks of things, he might be able to compete with the two redshirt freshmens next spring. This kis is talented. Great job recruiting him Coach Kiffin. I got to believe Scroggins will be leaving after the semister.

    @ Choochoorider: That’s funny, subpar coaching!!!

  29. trojan33sc says: Apr 5, 2012 2:16 AM

    smart kid, Fight On !!!

  30. bigdinla says: Apr 5, 2012 10:25 AM

    Best of luck to Browne. Wish he had picked the Tide, but I understand the allure of USC. He was always going to be a hard pull for Alabama, but I was hoping the connection with coach Nuss and the fact that we did not have 4 5* Qbs in front of him might sway him our way.

    As to most players in the NFL, just give us a little time papabush and Bama will give you guys a run for your money!

  31. cosanostra71 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:38 AM

    One of the things that Browne said should really worry Sarkisian, especially because it is true. “As a quarterback growing up on the West Coast, at least for me personally, there was always the dream of growing up and being the quarterback for the Trojans.” As a quarterback growing up in the Seattle metro area, his dream should be to be the quarterback of the Huskies. 20 years ago, this would have been true. However, from my own personal experiences of having lived in Seattle during my high school years, I’ve seen how many Seattle kids now grow up dreaming of playing in other programs. I’m a SoCal native and a Trojans fan through and through but for the sake of the Pac-12 I hope that UW can re-establish itself, and it’s going to start by keeping these kids at home. Over the last 6 or 7 years, the only blue chippers from the state I can think of staying at UW were Locker and Kasan Williams.

  32. bmceh says: Apr 5, 2012 11:32 AM

    UW needs to “re-establish itself”…? That well underway, thank you. The simple fact is that Sarkisian is bringing in 2 big time QBs this fall and Max Browne is smart enough to see that he could walk into a starting job in 2013 at USC. Like Barkley, he could start as a true freshman. Good for him. I live next to Skyline HS and will enjoy watching Browne take us to another State title.
    Sark is a better coach than Kiffin, no doubt, and an equally talented recruiter. But again, Browne is being handed a gift at SC whereas he might’ve been riding the bench for a year or two at UW. Jeff Lindquist (a local blue chip who stayed home, btw) is for real, and everyone saw Cyler Miles win MVP honors in the Army All America game.

  33. cosanostra71 says: Apr 5, 2012 11:58 AM

    Jeff is definitely for real, I remember coaching him when he was playing little league in middle school and thinking even then he had what it takes. However, I still think my point stands. They are well on their way and I don’t think I ever discounted it, but the Husky brand still has a lot of work to do locally. If they keep winning and improving I think they will re-establish themselves, but comments like Browne’s have to be worrying.

  34. arizonapetdoctor says: Apr 5, 2012 12:06 PM

    Not sure about the assessment that sark is a better coach than kiffin. Both are still works in progress in my opinion, coming from the same origins (USC). I am not really even saying that kiffin is better than sark, rather the animosity shown towards kiffin is mostly based on myopia and blind hatred. It actually seems to do more to show what type of person the poster is rather than actually reflect on kiffin.

    Washington fans are as amazing and passionate as any in the country. However, missing out on a five star player (qb or otherwise regardless of your depth) is a setback. Maybe not as significant as implied in the article, but one nonetheless. The same sting that USC felt when they lost DAT to Oregon. Browne has the potential to be an amazing qb, but as a fan of another team, how can you expect to know how good the current backup QBs are? Those type comments come across as sour grapes and an inferiority complex regarding your team. Wish him luck, support your team, and it will all be sorted out when he meets head to head with UW when he earns he starting position, whenever that may be.

  35. papabush88 says: Apr 5, 2012 12:41 PM

    You beat me to it, arizonapetdoctor. Was going to say the same thing, but glad I didn’t because you were much more articulate.
    There was a recent article saying who is the 2nd Best Coach in the Pac 12. I felt the article was ill-timed. It stated that Chip Kelly was obviously No. 1, but posed the question as who is next in line. I think that it is too soon to fairly judge a lot of coaches in the Pac 12 since many are new/newer: Kiffin, Graham, Mora, and Leach. Many said Whittingham of Utah is second best. Maybe right now he is. But Kiffin hasn’t been able to prove himself in the postseason. He took over a team with heavy sanctions, has had two great recruiting classes, went 8-5 and then 10-2. As far as handling his job under the circumstances he’s in, the argument can be made that Kiffin is No. 2 coach. When you are playing with a limited roster and no bowl hopes, those are huge obstacles to overcome. How do you keep your players healthy? How do you rotate guys in and out of games without jeopardizing the victory? How do you motivate these kids when they have no bowl or postseason? Those are extreme challenges. Yes, Kiffin is HC of maybe the strongest program in country. Still, another challenge is the expectations that fans and the country have for USC. I had mixed feelings when Kiffin was hired. I liked that he was bringing Orgeron and Monte. However, I soon realized that Lane is our guy. He protected the legacy of Pete Carroll and began building his own. And so far, it is looking good. A lot of positives are on Kiffin’s side right now. We will see how this season goes, and how the postseason turns out, before we can further judge him as a coach. But hard to say Sark is better than Kiffin. I’m a big Sark fan, but at the end of the day, not being able to snag a QB from your own state is a setback. Like arizonapetdoctor said, so was losing DAT. But we seem to be overcoming that obstacle. I’m sure Sark can too. That will be a big testament.

  36. pdcooper08 says: Apr 5, 2012 5:15 PM

    I have to say, the Pac-12 is a much better place when UW is in the upper part of the standings. They have great tradition and an outstanding fan base. I’m an SC fan, but with Sark there, I pull for him as well.

    At one time, back when both where sharing the OC spot after N. Chow left, I too thought Sark was the better of the two coaches. I had hoped SC some way bring Sark back to SC, and was suspect to LK being hired. But as we have seen, LK has held his own on and off field. Having top assistants of course is a major key to having overall success. So again, I give LK credit for putting his staff together, keeping them and pulling in the recruits he has signed.

    Sark’s got a good thing going and I hope he continues to build upon that. Go Pac-12 and Fight on Trojans!

  37. waynefontes says: Apr 6, 2012 11:00 AM

    I don’t like USC, but I do respect them. They’re also not nearly as annoying as the FSU dynasty back in the 90s.

    As for landing another top flight QB prospect, most people would say you can never have enough elite talent. Especially at QB.

    Then again, whatever happened to Mitch Mustain? Having three or four top QBs means nothing since at least one of them will probably never see significant playing time.

    I’m sure that is a problem that at least 90% of programs could only dream of having. Hell, Cassel was drafted and he also got a USC degree and college experience. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

    The kid is going to his dream school, and is obviously not afraid of competition. I admire that, although imagine if the Tide actually had an elite QB. Scary thought.

  38. Pac12Ute says: Apr 6, 2012 3:06 PM

    That was his highlight video? I know it’s easy to be an armchair coach, but that kid missed a wide open read on every play an opted to run too often. Congrats USC… he’s all yours!

  39. arizonapetdoctor says: Apr 6, 2012 7:09 PM

    You are right, it is very easy to be an armchair coach (I am one as well , so no disrespect intended). However real coaches seem to think this kids skills are impressive, and in the end, that is infinitely more important than our opinions. Trust me, the utes coaching staff would have been ecstatic to get him, as would any other coaching staff. I would feel the same even if I wasn’t a USC fan (see DAT going to Oregon, and the offensive lines studs going to Stanford)

  40. pdcooper08 says: Apr 7, 2012 4:38 PM

    I’ll take him on my team every day of the week. I’m sure the QB coach and LK will teach him to read defensive coverages, to throw the ball on time and to the correct areas. That’s the least of his worries. He possesses the physical skills needed to be a star and am told he has a good football IQ. This all sounds good to me and I’m very excited he is ours.

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