At this point in the season, USC has rebounded from their rocky start to the 2016 season.
Head coach Clay Helton has made significant changes across the board to the Trojans roster and game-planning, the most significant of them being at the quarterback position, where he replaced opening day starter, Max Browne, after three games, with freshman Sam Darnold. It was what had to be done in Helton’s eyes to kick-start a failing USC roster.
However, the long-term impact of his decision is now being felt by the player he sent to the bench. Browne, a redshirt junior, has been granted a “permission-to-contact form” by the school, which allows him to transfer to any school in the NCAA. Due to Browne’s status as a current graduate student as well, he will be immediately eligible to play at whatever school he chooses.
Browne’s 2016 season started with a wave of optimism, as he and the Trojans were able to test themselves on opening day against the number-one team in the country in Alabama. However, after a vicious defeat at the hands of the Crimson Tide, in which Browne only threw for 101 yards and an interception, followed by two more weeks of un-emphatic football, Helton made his season-altering decision. Through three games, Browne accounted for only 474 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
With Browne’s future destination now up in the air, the question now becomes where should the USC transfer quarterback will land? While Browne has not publicly stated which teams have already contacted him, he has admitted that he will not rule out any schools at this point, including FCS-level teams, or programs within the Pac-12. Could Oregon State be a potential destination for Browne?
Coming out of high school, Browne was a consensus four-star recruit and the number-two ranked quarterback in the 2013 recruiting class. He was also a U.S. Army All-American, an Elite 11 selection and a participant at Nike’s “The Opening”. Browne picked the Trojans over a host of other suitors, including the likes Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Oklahoma, Washington and Wisconsin (Gary Andersen’s former school). The Beavers also offered Browne a scholarship, but were largely not considered as a possible destination for his services.
The case for Oregon State is a bit more impressive this time around, as Andersen already has a relationship from the initial recruiting process with Browne, and Oregon State is a program currently looking for a starting quarterback for next season. While numerous players look to be in the mix for the Beavers, no clear-cut starter is on the horizon just yet.
Darell Garretson, Oregon State’s opening day starting quarterback this season, figures to be the main figure in next season’s position battle along with Ventura College transfer, Jake Luton. Luton, a recent commit to the Beavers, is expected to arrive this Winter in Corvallis and has two years of eligibility remaining in his college career. Walk-on freshman Conor Blount, as well as incumbent starter Marcus McMaryion and redshirt freshman Mason Moran, are also expected to be possible contenders for the job.
As for now, Browne has stated that he is in no rush to make a decision on his future destination.
“For the next few weeks at least, I’ll just see who contacts me. Come December, maybe I’ll start reaching out to schools that I think would be a good fit and see if there’s mutual interest on their end.”