San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers remembers his college years very well. He recalled being that kid to graduate high school in the winter in order to enroll early at North Carolina State in time for spring practice.
“Back in 2000, it was a little more rare then,” Rivers said. “A lot of guys do that now.”
USC freshman quarterback Max Browne is in a similar situation. He, like Rivers, graduated high school early in order to enroll and participate in spring practice with the Trojans.
Rivers and Browne were both in attendance at the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year Awards in Hollywood earlier this week.
The two had a chance to speak, and Rivers told the young quarterback that one of the most important things in preparing for his new journey is to “have a plan.” As they further engaged in conversation, Rivers was confident that the USC freshman has it together.
“I think it’s more so just the right mindset,” said Browne. “Going in there knowing that I’m going to compete, and if that means winning the job that means winning the job, and if that doesn’t happen, be the best backup in the league. (I need to) be ready to go and when I get my shot make the most of it.
“Everyone’s story is different. Everyone gets to where they are differently and we’ll see what the future holds.”
Added Rivers: “I just encouraged him to stick with it and stay with it. It’s nice that he got in and got the first semester under his belt, and what a heck of a high school career he had.”
Browne won back-to-back state titles at Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash. and in his four-year prep career, Brown netted 146 touchdown passes.
Rivers also shared with Browne what he could expect as a freshman, some of which Browne was already familiar with as an early enrollee.
“He was talking about how he went from the big dog down to the bottom of the totem pole again,” Rivers said. “And it happens at every level…when you make that jump up, you immediately go from the top to the bottom.”
Fall camp is a little more than two weeks away for the Trojans. Browne’s older teammates have already tried to get in his head with a bunch of “negative stuff” and what the experience is going to be like, telling him he’ll have a lot more pressing issues than just X’s and O’s. There’s also the rookie shows in which the freshman is going to have to put on the performance of his life.
“(I) basically just have to make the team laugh,” Browne said. “So, however you can do that (do it), if you don’t I think there’s some sort of penalty, so I’ll have to pull something out of my sleeve.”