After losing his starting job at USC after just three games last season, paving the way for young rising star Sam Darnold, Max Browne knew he needed to find a new place to play his final year of eligibility if he wanted to start again. Pitt wound up being the destination for the quarterback, and he’ll be bringing a motivation with him driven by the way things ended for him at USC.
Browne was pulled out of the starting job after a rough three-game start that included losses to Alabama and Stanford. Because Darnold fit in so well with the Trojans offense, leading the to a strong second half of the season and a wild Rose Bowl victory over Big Ten champion Penn State, the writing had long been on the wall for Browne that his opportunity to lead USC’s offense was gone. In December, Browne announced he was leaving the Trojans and moving to Pittsburgh to play with the Panthers.
“A lot of frustration, confusion, disappointment,” Browne said in an interview with Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com when describing his reactions to being informed by USC head coach Clay Helton he would no longer be the starting quarterback. “I don’t mean to be negative, but I also don’t want to be fake. That situation was not the easiest one on me, but I was happy to see my guys finish the season out the right way and get that Rose Bowl win, but it was tough.
As you might imagine, Browne is now provided with a little bit of extra motivation to make things right and prove he is worthy of a starting job, even if it comes in another program in a different conference in a completely new region.
“It’s in my blood, it’s 100 percent fuel to the fire, definitely drives me,” Browne said. “I think at this point in my career, being a fifth-year senior, you have to find your spark, and that’s definitely it. That’s what is definitely sparking me and wanting me to lead Pitt to a great season.”
Browne has just one final year of eligibility, and he is expected to be Pitt’s new starting quarterback after the Panthers lost Nate Peterman to graduation.
With eight quarterbacks on the roster, Kody Wilstead opted to leave the Cougars in mid-March. A little over a month later, Wilstead has found a new home, albeit a little further down on the college football ladder.
According to the Deseret News, Wilstead has signed to play at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. As Coffeyville is a junior college, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.
It’s expected that Wilstead will spend at least one season at the JUCO level before looking at making a move back up to the FBS.
Wilstead, a three-star 2015 signee, took a redshirt as a true freshman last season after serving an LDS mission the previous two years.
After Wilstead’s departure, the seven remaining Cougar signal-callers are, in alphabetical order, Stacy Conner, Joe Critchlow, Hayden Griffitts, Beau Hoge, Tanner Mangum, Baylor Romney and Zach Wilson. Mangum, last year’s starter, is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury he suffered in November of last year but remains on track to return for the start of summer camp in August.
This is something you don’t see all too often.
Donovan Franklin (pictured, No. 26) tweeted out late Tuesday night that, “[a]fter careful consideration I am happy to announce that I have decided to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Kansas.” Franklin had spent the past two years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, playing his college football for the Army Black Knights.
It’s unclear what led the slotback to leave the service academy and head to the Big 12 school.
Franklin was a two-star prospect coming out of high school in Maryland in Army’s Class of 2015. After playing in two games in 2016, he carried the ball one time for seven yards this past season.
The 5-9, 185-pound Franklin was listed as a defensive back coming out of high school, and could assume such a role yet again with the Jayhawks. That likely won’t happen this season, however, as it’s expected he will have to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
That whole thing where Oklahoma landed a graduate transfer from Notre Dame? Never mind. Pretend it never happened.
April 15, a little over a week after he announced his transfer from Notre Dame, Jay Hayes took to Twitter to confirm that he had committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma. Ten days later, the defensive lineman has done an about-face, taking to the same social media service to announce that he is flipping from OU to Georgia.
“This is it!” the lineman wrote, presumably meaning there will be no more flipping.
As a graduate transfer, Hayes will be eligible to play immediately for the Bulldogs in 2018. This will be the lineman’s final season of eligibility.
Hayes, a four-star member of the Irish’s 2014 recruiting class, played in 26 games for the Irish over the last three seasons, including starts in all 13 games at defensive end in a 2017 season that saw him record 27 tackles and a sack.
At least in this graduate transfer battle, the SEC has gotten over on the Pac-12.
Tuesday, Jack Driscoll, who decided to transfer from UMass earlier this offseason, confirmed that he had narrowed his potential landing spots down to three — Auburn, UCLA and USC. A day later, the offensive lineman took to Twitter to announce that he will be enrolling at AU and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Tigers.
Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 on The Plains. The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.
After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017. All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.