For a week, people have speculated that Pitt was looking to bring in a veteran quarterback to compete for the starting job in 2017. Notre Dame’s Malik Zaire, who will be transferring in the Spring, is one name that has been mentioned.
Tonight, Pittsburgh Sports Now has learned that Pitt is looking to bring in an experienced quarterback but it won’t be Zaire; at least not at first.
Current USC quarterback Max Browne, who has one year of eligibility remaining, will be flying into town tonight and will spend the weekend with the Pitt football team.
Browne was much decorated high school from Sammamish, Washington. In 3 years as a starter, he threw for nearly 13,000 yards, completed 70% of his passes and threw 146 TD’s. In 2012, Browne was named the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year and eventually selected USC over Alabama and Washington.
The 5-star quarterback enrolled at USC in 2013 and redshirted. The following two seasons (2014 and 2015) he served as the No. 2 quarterback behind Cody Kessler. In 2015, he won USC’s Bob Chandler Award (given to the underclassmen with outstanding athletic ability, academic achievement and character).
After starting the first 3 games of this season for USC, Browne was benched and that ended up being the finish of his career with the Trojans.
Before he boarded his plane to Pittsburgh, I had a chance to talk with Browne about USC but more importantly this upcoming weekend at Pitt.
“I was benched after the 3rd game and realized that SC wasn’t going to be the place for me going forward and then I immediately got permission my permission to contact. Since then, I’ve been on USC’s team but I’ve been communicating with schools,” said Browne.
How did a player from Washington come into contact with a school all the way across the country like Pitt?
“Coach Salem was the first one to reach out and said there was an interest on their end, so we’ve had time to build the relationship. It’s been great to get to know those guys. It’s obviously a far ways away but I’m excited to fly out tonight,” said Browne.
I then asked him what the Pitt coaches have said about the opportunity and the reason for them contacting him.
“The reason I’m flying across the country is because I potentially could be coming into a great situation. I know anywhere that I go, I’ll have to compete. Those guys currently on the roster are planning on competing for a job and I plan on doing the same thing.”
“That’s all I’ve ever done is compete, grind, and battled for a spot. The reason I’m making this visit is it looks like it can make sense for both sides,” said Browne.
Like the rest of the country and like plenty of potential recruits, one of the things that stands out to Browne about Pitt is Matt Canada’s new high-powered offense.
“The nation noticed Pitt in the Clemson game and it’s explosiveness. I don’t get exposed to a lot of Pitt football being on the West Coast but it was cool seeing that game and how explosive they can be.”
“Being a football junkie like I am, I’ve been able to watch Pitt’s offense on YouTube and the way Coach Canada gets after things. It’s fun to see points being put up and that offense would fit well with my skill set, it would be exciting,” said Browne.
Browne is flying to Pittsburgh from Los Angeles himself but will be meeting his father and brother. He’s excited to visit Pittsburgh for the first time and possibly check out his new home.
“I’m taking the red-eye to Pittsburgh to make sure I can get there Friday morning to catch a practice. I’ve been around a lot of ball, I’ve been in college for 4 years now, so I want to get a feel for the coaches, the scheme, how the players interact. I’m expecting nothing but great things. This will be my last college go around so I want to make sure the football side of things is a perfect fit, plus I want to be exposed to the grad school and the city,” said Browne.
“It hasn’t been the college career that I hoped for but I get one more year and that’s all the motivation I need to get after it. I’m ready to go, ready to play ball, wherever that maybe, whether it’s Pitt or someplace else. My motivation is as high as it can be and I’m ready to make the most of this year.”
Browne says that if he finds the right fit immediately, he will enroll in January but won’t rush things.