USC lands top Class of 2013 quarterback

USC may eventually feel the effects of its NCAA-mandated recruiting limitations, but that won't stop head coach Lane Kiffin and his staff from bringing in top-tier talent anyway.

The Trojans showed Wednesday night that top high school players still value the opportunity to play in Los Angeles as the top quarterback in the Class of 2013, Max Browne, verbally committed to the Trojans.

Max BrowneMax Browne will get a chance to replace Matt Barkley at USC in 2013.

The five-star Browne chose USC over three other finalists: Alabama, Oklahoma, and home-state Washington. He also held offers from most of the major FBS powers.

The 6-5, 202-pounder from Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline High School, Browne is widely considered the top quarterback — dropback or dual-threat — in the country. He visited USC twice, including its Junior Day, and he also has a brother who lives in Southern California. Kiffin and the offensive staff likely sold him on the idea that he will get every opportunity to compete with Cody Kessler and Max Wittek for the starting job in 2013. The Trojans didn't sign a quarterback in the 2012 class.

Meanwhile, Steve Sarkisian and the hometown Huskies once again lost out on the state's top player to Kiffin and the Trojans. Class of 2012 lineman Zach Banner signed with USC just before National Signing Day this past winter.

If Browne, who is determined to enroll early next January, wins the starting job at 'SC as a freshman, he will take over for Matt Barkley, who is one of the preseason candidates for the 2012 Heisman Trophy. But he's used to taking over for established signal-callers, as he assumed the starting gig at national powerhouse Skyline after Jake Heaps graduated. As a sophomore, Browne passed for 4,182 yards and 50 touchdowns, leading his team to the Class 4A state-title game. He again passed for over 4,000 yards with 45 touchdowns and a 70 percent completion percentage last fall during another state-title run at Skyline. More impressive is that he reduced his interceptions from 13 to 7 from his sophomore to junior campaigns.

USC, of course, is entering its second year of a three-year scholarship reduction period, where the program can only offer 15 scholarships instead of the usual 25.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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