Growing up, Max Browne’s dream was to one day become the starting quarterback at Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline.
He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his brother, Mitch, who led the program to its first state title in 2000. He wanted to live up to the legacy set by Jake Heaps, who is now redshirting at Kansas after transferring from BYU. He wanted to join the fraternity of quarterbacks to pass through the program.
“That was definitely the goal,” Browne said.
While working his way toward that goal, Browne joined another fraternity. The 6-foot-5, 214-pound USC commit is one of five 2013 quarterbacks in Washington who have verbally accepted scholarship offers to Division I universities.
Browne, rated the nation’s No. 2 quarterback, joins Nevada commit Isaac Dotson (Bellevue, Wash./Newport), BYU commit Billy Green (Shoreline, Wash./King’s), Colorado commit Sefo Liufau (Tacoma, Wash./Bellarmine Prep) and SMU commit Kolney Cassel (Yakima, Wash./Eisenhower).
“It’s definitely an honor to be a part of this group,” Dotson said. “It’s not very often you have so many players of this caliber coming out of this area. It’s been awesome to be able to compete with these guys over the years and push each other, see how far we’ve come.”
Like Browne, Dotson grew up hearing about Heaps. He was a player the prospects could emulate. Browne had to fill Heaps' shoes, while Dotson watched at a distance, playing at a nearby rival school.
“You think about how it would be cool to be in his spot one day,” Dotson said.
At different times throughout their high school careers, the five quarterbacks have trained together. They have attended the same camps and worked with the same coaches. They helped push each other toward successful seasons.
“It definitely kind of boosts your game a little bit,” Green said. “It’s awesome competition but, at the same time, it’s good, friendly competition. We’re all pretty close, and we talk to each other after games. We say congratulations and things like that, so it’s a cool group to be with.”
The quarterbacks keep tabs on each other through Facebook and the newspaper. If Green notices one of the quarterbacks has a big game, he will send a text and congratulate him on his performance.
While it is fun for the prospects to compare stats, their focus is on successful seasons.
“It’s always fun to see how everyone else did, like on a Saturday morning read the paper and know they had a good game,” Green said. “At this point, I’m just kind of looking for wins. Stats are awesome and they’re a big bonus, but we’re looking for wins.”
Browne and Dotson put on a show when Skyline toppled Newport, 56-28, last week. Browne completed 19 of 24 passes for 343 yards and four touchdowns -- he completed 10 of 11 passes for 259 yards and three scores in the second quarter alone -- while Dotson rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, in addition to completing 5 of 8 passes for 61 yards.
While Browne came into the game as the higher-rated passer, he knew that meant little when sharing the same field with Dotson.
“Rankings don’t mean anything once you get out there,” Browne said. “That’s the mindset I take. It’s definitely cool, definitely an honor, but you’ve kind of got to throw it out the window.”
Considering his national ranking and the events he attended this summer -- The Opening and Elite 11 -- Browne headlines this group. But, when the quarterbacks get together, there are no issues with egos. They are competitive, so when they work out, they try to out-perform each other. But the on-field rivalries are friendly.
“It’s cool to kind of get recognized for what you’ve done with your high school but, at the end of the day -- I got a good taste of it as Elite 11 -- we’re all pretty much similar,” Browne said. “We know our ranks but, at the same time, it doesn’t really mean anything until you go out there and win.”
Green knows that if he ever needs anything from Browne, all he has to do is send a text or make a phone call.
“He’s an awesome guy,” Green said. “If I needed help with something, I’d have no problem calling him or texting him and asking for it. There’s no doubt in my mind he would help me out. The same thing with Isaac and I’m sure Sefo, too.”
In the 2012 recruiting class, Washington was loaded with linemen. One year later it is the Year of the Quarterback.
“It’s a pretty cool group to be in,” Green said. “It’s definitely a special year for quarterbacks here in Washington. Being a part of that five is pretty special.”