Max Browne has certainly come a long way. Once only put into games for mop-up duty, the rising redshirt junior is now being put into the starting quarterback conversation. It will be between him and freshman Sam Darnold for the starting job under center and although both possess tremendous skill, Browne may have the edge at the position in terms of experience.
Being put into games during what many like to call "garbage time" in 2015, Browne was able to put his skills on display. His best game of the season came in the opener against Arkansas State. He went 3-of-5 passing, throwing for 66 yards including a 35-yard toss that was his longest of the day. His 170.9 quarterback rating contributed to a 55-6 win in which the entire offense excelled.
Browne saw the field again the next week as he went 4-6 for 43 yards, as he was called upon again during a 59-9 rout of Idaho. Two weeks later, he completed a pass for four yards as the Trojans defeated Arizona 42-14. He would not see the field again as backing up Cody Kessler was a tall order. However, he gained experience, something that may prove to be valuable as he looks to win the quarterback competition.
What can Browne bring to the Trojans this year? Accuracy is the first thing that stands out to me and we saw it a little bit in the spring. During USC’s Spring Game, he looked like a seasoned veteran going 7-of-11 passing, amassing 114 yards and three touchdowns. The accuracy will come in handy at all times, but in particular, it should be beneficial in the red zone.
As a junior in high school, he went 288-470 passing, which equals a 70% completion percentage. For his efforts for Skyline High School (Sammamish, Washington), he won both the 2011 Gatorade Washington and Associated Press Player of the Year Awards as well as a Washington State Championship.
Something that he also excels at is scrambling out of the pocket when he feels pressure. He can find the open field and make what may otherwise be a dead play into something. Should he start under center, a bevy of targets will be at his disposal, something that he should be very excited about. Using both his scrambling skills and their speed-athleticism combination, Browne should be able to pick apart defenses with ease should he be awarded the opportunity.
With the starting job up in the air, it is difficult to predict his 2016 numbers. If he is given the call, I predict a 2,500-yard, 20-touchdown season for the promising signal-caller.