When Max Browne left for the shores of Los Angeles following his senior football season at Skyline High School (Wa.), the Trojan recruit understood and embraced the challenge of going to school early.
Nearly seven months later with fall football less than two weeks away, the Trojans youngest signal caller feels more prepare than ever before and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
His previous home has definitely seen its fair share of success with the Browne family in charge. Oldest brother Mitch, 30, played quarterback on the first football season in 1997, while Marcus, 28, and Michael, 25, were equally successful in Track and Field.
That being said, youngest brother Max was eager to embrace his starting prospects as the top-ranked quarterback in his recruiting class. With a full semester under his belt, Browne begins to recognize the difference half a year can truly make.
“It was a lot of fun, something I would definitely do in a heartbeat,” Browne said about coming to school early. “I feel like I have a six-month head start on the field and off the field.”
Let’s just say Browne is a different type of freshmen than many who walk college campuses. The maturity, sense of purpose and dedication he instills into every rep, every throw and even the study of the opposing defense; stems from months of preparation for the ultimate opportunity.
As the youngest of four brothers in a very competitive family, fighting for your opportunities is nothing new for Browne. “I’ve always had to work hard whether it was playing with my older brothers or my high school team,” the 6’5″ 214-pound quarterback said about his family dynamic.
When Browne first arrived on campus, he was instantly placed in the discussion to follow the long lineage of quarterback success for Troy. With Matt Barkley paving the way for Freshmen starting QB’s at USC, Browne accepts those expectations and wants the challenge of fighting for the starting job this fall.
“Being a freshman you may not be up at a higher standard, but I put myself at a higher standard,” Browne said.
His first few weeks of practice came with aches and bruises. The norm for quarterbacks adjusting to sophisticated playbooks, advanced scouting and intense film study of enhanced defensive schemes. For Browne, the first few days of practice seem like a decade ago given his development on the field.
“Day one was kinda making sure I say the play correctly so I don’t bust someone up,” Browne said about his first moments of Spring Football, just a few months after leading Skyline to a 14-0 record and the Washington state championship. “I struggled initially but finished strong, and right now we are all even.”
Standing tall with broad shoulders and composure gleaming from his chest, Browne has never been short on confidence. Whether in the pocket or the game of life, Browne has always carried himself in the highest regard, something that recently caught the eye of Philip Rivers upon first encounter.
“He seems to have a good head on his shoulder,” Rivers said confidently about Browne after getting a chance to meet and talk with the Trojans signal caller at the Gatorade National Player of the Year Awards.
Rivers enrolled early for Spring Football for the NC State Woflpack back in 2000. A move that was rarely played in his era, but certainly all the more common for prospects like Browne. “I just encouraged him to stick with it and stay with it. It was nice that he got in and got the first semester under his belt,” said Rivers about transitioning from high school to college.
For the first time in four years, the quarterback competition at USC is truly up in the air. A sight that excites Browne, but also remains another vast step in his hard-fought journey.
“Attack the next chapter of this life with a plan,” is Browne’s main focus.”Whatever that plan may be, just attack it with a plan. I have a good foundation and support system that can help me succeed.”
With questions surrounding a disappointing end to last season and pressure to succeed here and now this fall, Browne confidently embraces the challenge with some help from his Trojan family.
An aspect of the Trojan fanfare that Browne confidently embraces, “I think the USC community, my family, the coaches are all part of the good sport community. They call it the Trojan family for a reason so if we do struggle, I think we will be prepared,” said the confident and composed quarterback.
Once fall camp rolls around, the training wheels will be officially taken off for all three quarterbacks. In the meantime, the highly-recruited gun slinger with plenty of accolades in his back pocket enjoys the prospects of battling it out just like he did growing up with his family. “It will be a fun healthy competition,” Browne says.
Months of preparation and study in the offseason on the line, the vested interest of Trojan Nation is waining for a leader to emerge at the quarterback position come kickoff on August 29th in Aloha Stadium.