Last week, Pitt received a commitment from former USC Trojans quarterback Max Browne (6-foot-5 inches, 215 pounds). Browne, who was rated as the number-one quarterback in the nation out of high school in 2013, is a graduate transfer with immediate eligibility for the 2017 season.
Browne finished his career at Skyline High School in Sammamish (WA) throwing for over 4,500 yards, 49 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He led Sammamish to a 14-0 record and a state championship.
Browne was asked to expound upon the circumstances that brought him to Pitt
“I was benched after week three and knew from then on that I was probably going to have to find a new home. I got my permission to contact/transfer done really early,” said Browne. “I got it approved by the school, my head coach, and AD in late October, right at November. From there I was able to contact schools. They were able to contact me. I didn’t contact anyone but Pitt was one of the first ones to reach out. They probably reached out mid-November and we got the relationship going.”
“I guess if I backtrack a little bit to give you the full background, there was a Sunday in November I sat down and I researched every D1 school and figured out, literally, who on paper would make sense and Pitt was one of those schools,” he said. “Coincidentally enough Coach Salem reached out a couple days later and we built a relationship. Fast forward a couple of weeks and Coach Canada came out for in home visits. Fast forward two more weekends and I was on Pitt’s campus doing my visit. A pretty quick process, but definitely various time frames throughout the past couple of months.”
This season at USC, Browne had a 62.4% completion rate (58-for-93) for 507 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. But he was eventually passed on the depth chart by redshirt freshman Sam Darnold. Darnold caught fire and ended up leading the Trojans to a Rose Bowl appearance.
Although former Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada was heavily involved in Browne’s recruitment. He opted to commit to the Panthers, even after Canada was hired away by LSU. Browne credits his strong rapport with head coach Pat Narduzzi for his decision.
“I love Coach Narduzzi. I think you could tell the guys love playing for him. Tons of energy. I think across the country that the practice week before finals when the bowl game is way off in the distance is probably the practice week where you have the least amount of energy,” He said. “Teams usually aren’t flying around. But that wasn’t the case at Pitt. You could tell guys were excited. Guys were excited on the Saturday morning practice with the bowl game three weeks away and it goes to show the influence that Coach Narduzzi has on those guys. So that went great.”
“I’m comfortable enough to commit to Pitt with no OC. Obviously Canada was great. He was the guy that came out for my in home visit. But he was just one factor of many that went into my decision there. It says a lot about the players, a lot about the guys, and a lot about Coach Narduzzi and the entire program he’s got going on.”
“Going into my visit though I didn’t know what to expect with Pitt. Obviously I’m coming from Los Angeles. I’m coming from USC which is a great program. It was fun to see what [Pitt] has going on and I’m excited to be a part of it. Alex Bookser was my host and he was a straight shooter and that’s why they gave him to me.”
Browne was also highly impressed with the Panthers synergistic relationship with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I was able to meet Big Ben (Roethlisberger), and that was awesome. But I think for a guy like me with one go-around after this, one last year. Then with goals to play in the NFL, being submersed in that culture, being around those guys, I think it was just an added bonus with deciding to go to Pitt.”
Browne is highly intelligent and mature player. He will enter a program with a plethora of young, talented but inexperienced quarterbacks. When asked if he was ready to assume a leadership role, he quickly stated, “Absolutely, 100%. I was the captain here at USC, which was probably one of my proudest moments at USC, with those guys voting for me. While I don’t know these guys as well, I have something to look forward to actually. Getting in there in January, that’s a big reason why I wanted to get in there early, is to get to know those guys. Win them over. That’s what I like to do. I like to lead. Part of the quarterback position, that’s what makes a great quarterback so it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to.”
“Then on the other side I hope the younger quarterbacks can learn something from me. I had a veteran role here at USC and I’m looking forward to translating that to Pitt as well.”
Browne, along with class of 2017 verbal commitments Deslin Alexandre, Jerry Drake Jr. and Kenny Pickett, will join the Panther program in January.
Harry G. Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru