Quarterback Max Browne took his visits, considered his options and, soon after returning from a three-day trip to USC, the five-star talent was ready to make his all-important decision.
Rivals' top-rated quarterback and No. 8 overall prospect in the class of 2013 committed to USC on Wednesday night over Oklahoma, Alabama and Washington, among many others pursuing the Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline standout. It gives Lane Kiffin the cornerstone of next year's class and, following a 2012 haul without a quarterback, provides the Trojans with Matt Barkley's heir apparent under center.
During his visit that started Thursday and ended Saturday, Browne had lunch Barkley, one of many aspects that factored into his ultimate decision-making. A major selling point was an appropriately placed rack of No. 4 USC jerseys he noticed on a trip to the campus bookstore. It was another sign the Trojans were the right fit.
"I went down there and my quarterbacks coach said you'll know when you know," Browne said of his mindset. "They took me to the bookstore and I walked out of the elevator and there were little, toddler size No. 4 jerseys, USC jerseys, and I said that's where I need to be. I don't know if I'll be No. 4, but that was an amazing sign that's where I need to be."
Browne threw for 8,216 yards and 95 touchdowns to just 20 interceptions during his sophomore and junior seasons. Coming off an 11-3 campaign in 2011, his Trojans are expected to contend for a repeat Washington Class 4A crown in 2012.
During his visit, Browne had an opportunity to sit in the background during meetings, gaining a feel for how the players interacted and for how the program functioned in general. That inside look was pivotal as he narrowed his consideration set over the past several days.
Following his second visit to USC -- he also went to Los Angeles for the team's junior day -- Browne was confident in how the offense ran through coach Lane Kiffin and quarterbacks coach Clay Helton.
Oklahoma was also a serious contender in Browne's recruitment, as the 6-foot-5, 202-pounder visited with the Sooners in recent weeks. He raved about meeting coach Bob Stoops and co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel and, temporarily, seemed to be leaning on heading to Norman.
That was until Browne took his three-day trip to USC. Both schools have extensive quarterback traditions, but the Trojans made a stronger pitch.
"I knew this was the place," Browne said. "My visit to Oklahoma was very good. I enjoyed all the places but Oklahoma tugged me in some ways. I liked them a lot and I really contemplated committing there but SC was the right place for me and I couldn't be more excited.
"Guys that I've grown up idolizing like Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez, Matt Cassel, Carson Palmer, all those guys and soon to be Matt Barkley, it's just special. I'm going to go in there and be the best quarterback I can be and see where the chips fall."
USC is off to a huge start in the 2013 class. Browne joins fellow five-star Kenny Bigelow, a defensive end from Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy and cornerback Chris Hawkins, a four-star prospect out of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Hawkins also committed in the past week, on April 1.