Browne shows all the right signs, Penn State improving
In this week's edition of the Recruiting Roundup, analyst Mike Farrell explores the rising stock of Max Browne, the questions surrounding Shane Morris, the resilience of Penn State, and how a weak defense affects recruiting.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder has a feel for the game that is rarely seen at the high school level. After throwing 13 interceptions as a sophomore and just seven last year, Browne has thrown only two picks this season while amassing nearly 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Completion percentage and turnover ratio are the two biggest factors scouts look for when it comes to quarterbacks, two attributes now much more important than size or arm strength. Browne has completed nearly 70-percent of his high school passes and thrown 109 touchdowns against only 22 picks.
Browne is currently ranked No. 10 overall in the country, but he plays the most important position in football and if he continues to be a surgeon on the field, he could be the first pro-style quarterback since Jimmy Clausen in 2007 to top the charts.
So, was the poor start due to mono or was it more of the up-and-down play from last season? Mono is unlikely to affect him long term when it comes to his college career, although it could delay his immediate impact depending on how long it takes to recover and gain back weight. His senior year playing sample will certainly lead to some detailed discussion.
I think what O'Brien is doing this year can possibly keep the big four of
The Big Ten is bad and Penn State can compete this year, but as the scholarship numbers dwindle and with no bowl games to sell, I see recruiting continuing to go more like it has over the last two months than it did before the sanctions.
This is a tough question to answer, but I think it's a bit of a turnoff. Big-time recruits love early playing time and that can be easily sold with poor defensive performances, but they also like to go to teams known for great defense, and I think that wins out. Giving up a ton of points certainly won't help the above teams sell such a defensive tradition. However, I think West Virginia, Oregon State, Nebraska and Boise State, schools without a great recruiting pool from which to fish, could suffer the most if the defensive lapses continue.
Speaking of Henry, I watched his game against
• Unless it gets
• The biggest wild card in the top 10 right now? That's clearly Auburn, which is still three commitments shy of the 20 cutoff used to rank the teams and is still involved with a ton of top talent. Auburn has a winnable stretch here with Arkansas, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and New Mexico State before it has to face Georgia and Alabama in two of the last three weeks. A winning season and a bowl game are not out of the question and likely needed to keep Gene Chizik and one of the best recruiting staffs in the country safe.
• South Carolina has done solid work in the state of Georgia the last couple of years, especially with the in-state talent down. Landing players Mike Davis, Chaz Elder, Joe Harris and Brendan Langley, in addition to a win over Georgia this weekend could further those efforts. In-state efforts are always crucial, but it's safe to say that the state of Georgia has become essential to the Gamecocks recruiting strategy. South Carolina has seven commits from the state of Georgia this year to only three from in-state. Last year, the Gamecocks took 12 from the Peach State and only four at home.
• Clemson is lurking at No. 13 in our rankings, but don't be surprised to see the Tigers make yet another push toward the national top 10 before all is said and done. With studs