USC is losing Matt Barkley but stands to gain the nation's top quarterback recruit. Max Browne brings the complete package at the game's most critical position. Our Brandon Huffman gives you the scoop on Browne's skills, recruitment and more.
Check out our entire series of top recruit profiles as we count down to Signing Day:
Jan. 24: No. 12 Thomas Tyner
Get to know him
High school: Skyline High (Sammamish, Wash.)
Rating: (No. 1 overall QB)
Biggest strength: He's got the best downfield arm in this class and is one of the most accurate passers we've seen in the last few years. He's got the intangibles you want in a quarterback and he wins, plain and simple.
Area for improvement: He's not the most mobile quarterback and isn't that great of an athlete. He'll need to get quicker and faster for the times he's flushed out of the pocket.
NFL player he reminds us of: Peyton Manning. Like Manning, he looks a little awkward when he's running and doesn't have that wow factor, athletically. But he's methodical and makes his teammates around him better.
Q: A lot of recruits have been bailing on USC late in the process here, but Browne has remained solid to the Trojans. What has kept him from joining the exodus?
Huffman: He was always loyal to USC from the get-go, and I think the opportunity to play early with Matt Barkley graduating was always something that helped USC the entire time. And if Max Wittek's performance in the Sun Bowl was an indicator, Browne will definitely have a shot to win the starting job in 2013.
Q: He's the top-rated quarterback in our class and has been for a while. What makes him the best of 2013?
Huffman: The arm, the accuracy, the poise, the leadership, the intangibles, the size. He's pretty much what you draw up in a traditional drop-back passer.
Q: Quarterback is a position that screams for solid leadership, and that's not a skill we tend to quantify. From what you've seen, how does he stack up in this area?
Huffman: This is what separates him from the other quarterbacks in this class. He's a leader and he's a winner. He won two state championships as a starter and lost a heartbreaker in the state championship game as a sophomore. He had big shoes to fill (he took over for Scout's 2010 top-ranked quarterback, Jake Heaps, at Skyline), and all he did was shatter his records. But its his leadership and the way he led his team to victory, a team that was never the most talented team in the state.
Q: USC coaches have told him he'll have the chance to compete for the starting QB job as a freshman. Do you think he gets it?
Huffman: Again, if the Sun Bowl is any indication, he'll have every chance to win the starting job. And with questions about Lane Kiffin's job security, inserting a freshman could be one of those moves that gives you a little time, especially if Browne shows he's taken to the starting job.
Q: He will naturally draw comparisons to Matt Barkley, especially if he starts as a freshman. How do the two compare and what should USC fans expect?
Huffman: He doesn't have the rifle that Barkley has and he's not as naturally engaging and outgoing as Barkley is. But he's a smarter quarterback and much less risky -- he won't take chances just because he has too much confidence in his arm. He makes much better decisions than Barkley did as a prep and even as a senior at USC. He's also been more successful at the prep level than Barkley was.
In his own words
"I came to Skyline to continue legacy of great quarterbacks, and do the same at USC. USC is the best combination of football and academics in the country." -- April 4