Trojans backup QB Max Browne transferring to Pittsburgh

ByKyle Bonagura ESPN logo
Monday, December 19, 2016

Former USC Trojans quarterback Max Browne is headed toPittsburghfor his final season of eligibility as a graduate-transfer.

Browne visited the school over the weekend, and after returning to Los Angeles he had a pretty good idea that's where he would go.

He sat on it for a few days before making the announcement on Twitter on Thursday.

"It's way different than USC is terms of the city and the feel and the weather and all that," Browne told ESPN. "As far as the vibe to the team, the guys I was around when I was there, it was a good fit. I got along with those guys. Really like them and it's a great opportunity for me in my fifth and final year."

Browne will enroll in a graduate school program on Jan. 5, and be with the team in spring practice.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada was leaving for LSU, but Browne said that wasn't a concern.

"Coach Canada was part of the equation, but at the end of the day, [head coach Pat Narduzzi] was the biggest factor for me," Browne said. "He's excited about me. He's excited about what I can bring in."

Browne said he was told Pitt would focus on bringing in a replacement after the Panthers' game against Northwestern in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28.

"As far as who they're going to get, he said they're going to get a guy that fits me," Browne said.

Browne, the No. 2-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2013 and Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2012, sat behind Cody Kessler for three years at USC and was named the starter over Sam Darnold near the end of training camp. He started the first three games of the season for the Trojans, but after they started 1-2, Darnold replaced him.

His final start came in a 27-10 loss at Stanford, which, coincidentally, was where he was when he made the announcement Thursday. He was in town visiting his girlfriend, who lives near Stanford.

"I made that joke to her," he said. "I made my announcement on the Stanford campus, the last place I started that helped me lose my job."

The coaching staff and Browne's teammates at USC have been overwhelmingly supportive of his decision to leave.

"It's a body that's gone and it's a great guy like Max gone and it's really sad, but you try to move on as best as you can," Darnold said. "It's definitely a bummer without him in there and we're going to miss him, but you just got to move on and just wish him the best of luck moving forward."

USC coach Clay Helton said Wednesday he had not been contacted by any coaches interested in Browne, but would do whatever he could to help him during the process.

Browne graduated from USC prior to this season and is two semesters short of an MBA. He said he plans to finish that program eventually.