Devin Brown has had to grow up fast in the last six months or so.
The Arizona native was already committed to USC at the time, contemplating what was next. It turned out to be a move north to Utah, competing at the state's top prep program, Corner Canyon High School.
All Brown has done, since, is lead the Chargers to nine wins in 10 games, currently sitting second in the nation in passing yardage (3,557) and touchdowns (40) along the way. The team has a playoff bye this upcoming week.
"It's been an awesome experience," he said. "I love living in Utah, playing under Coach (Eric) Kjar has been one of the best experiences ever. He's just been a great mentor to me, just an unbelievable coach. We have so many talented guys around me so this season has just been really fun.
"He (Kjar) is one of the smarted guys, in terms of football, that you will ever meet. He just has so many answers for so many different situations. And he loves to air it out, so it's really cool."
"It's been basically like a prep year for college," he said. "I'm graduating early so I'll be gone in December, so it's like I'm already in college because I left some friends back in Arizona. It's taught me to mature faster and to be productive on my own. It's been very helpful to me.
"Moving from the type of offense I had in Arizona, which was very pro-style with wordy play calls, to a spread out offense has been a change, but it's helped me. Plus that's the way college football has turned too, so it's been very helpful."
The increased profile, gaudy stats and assimilation towards the college game, combined with the USC coaching change, has made Brown coveted all over again on the recruiting trail. He will sign a National Letter of Intent in less than two months, with the early signing period opening December 15, with a growing list of suitors challenging USC.
L.A. is still where Brown is expecting to move next, as things currently stand.
"It's pretty much the same," he said. "I lean there, but you just don't know what is going to happen with coaches. We really just have no idea who they're going to hire. I just have to be smart, look at all my other options and look at what schools are the best fit for me.
"With COVID, we committed on Zoom calls. Now I get to go on visits and it's been really helpful. Seeing coaches face to face, getting to talk to them in person, seeing the facilities and what the game day experience is like. I'm just doing my due diligence and getting to know about every single school to make the right decision for me."
Brown has visited UCLA and Ole Miss to date. He was back at USC for the Stanford game earlier this season, too, the game where Helton's fate was all but sealed. More trips are likely, too.
The Bruins got the senior on campus when Arizona State was in town in September.
"It was a good experience," he said. "The game was pretty fun. They didn't come out with the win, I think they were hoping for a little bit of a different outcome. Getting to meet Coach (Ryan) Gunderson and Coach (Chip) Kelly, and have good conversations with them on what they think of me and how I fit in with the program, not only as a player but as a person -- it was a really good time in Westwood."
Of course a USC quarterback commitment visiting UCLA isn't the most common site on the recruiting trail. Experience with each staff is quite different.
"I don't have the same relationship with the coaches yet," Brown said of UCLA. "With Coach (Graham) Harrell, Coach (Seth) Deoge and Coach Helton at SC, I just had a great relationship with them. I have been committed for a while and have been talking for a long time so it was a little bit of a different experience (at UCLA). Having to learn more about them and the facilities, it was more about explaining everything."
The communication with the Trojan staff, unchanged besides Helton for now, has continued.
"I talk to Coach Donte (Williams) a lot more now, obviously, because he is the interim head coach," Brown said. "I talk to him a little bit more. My conversations with Coach Harrell and Coach Deoge have stayed the same. Coach Harrell and Coach Donte were at my game on Wednesday, so it's pretty much been the same with them."
Outside of the Trojans, Brown was able to spend time with another coaching staff for a longer stretch than most. He took an official visit to Ole Miss, which comes with multiple days on campus, last weekend surrounding the wild game against Arkansas.
The first impression in that part of the country appeared to be memorable.
"SEC is definitely different," Brown said. "It's a lot bigger football, the fan base is a lot crazier and at the game day experience, there's a lot more people. Me and my family had a really great time in Oxford. They were showing me a lot of tape of Matt Corral, how I fit into the offense and what they have planned for me in the system."
With so much time near or on campus, the nation's preseason No. 14 quarterback on SI All-American got extended time with the offensive battery between Lane Kiffin and Jeffy Lebby.
"I got to meet with Coach Kiffin a little bit on the last day, before I went home," he said. "We had some conversations about moving there, life on campus, and what he thinks of me. The day before I was with Coach Lebby, the offensive coordinator, almost every day. We had dinner with his family's house. It was just a different experience, getting to meet the families and seeing what it's like outside of football."
The trips won't soon slow for Brown, who is looking to be thorough with options new and old before coming to a final decision.
The new staff at Texas will get him on campus in November.
"We're planning on taking an official to Texas," he said. "I've been talking with them a lot. Coach Sark (Steve Sarkisian) calls me every once in a while and I talk to the QB coach, Coach (A.J.) Milwee, about twice a week. They're planning for me to take an official visit, I think we're planning on going to the Kansas game."
The newest scholarship offer on the table came during the week. It was unexpected, too, according to the senior, even after Ohio State showed up at practice for a closer look.
"I was talking to the running backs coach (Tony Alford) a little bit," he said. "Then they actually flew out their quarterbacks coach, Coach (Corey) Dennis, and he watched my Monday practice during the week. It was actually a rainy practice, the weather sucked, so he was out there freezing, watching me throw. He called me the next day and him and Coach (Ryan) Day offered me a scholarship right there.
"It was surprising, a really cool moment. Not many can say they have an Ohio State offer. It's a big honor and it's very cool. They want me to take an official visit. I think I probably will."
Each visit draws one of the nation's most productive passers closer to the end of what has been a wild home stretch of the recruiting process.
The feel may create the final pecking order when all is said and done.
"With every school it's fit in the system, there's all the things with football and academics, where a lot of schools check boxes for me," he said. "A big thing is just getting out there and meeting coaches face to face and seeing how I fit from a personality standpoint. Just how I fit in as a player there."
Brown, who has been committed to USC since September of 2020, took the weekend off from visits in order to return to Arizona to spend time with family.