Impact Report - Jake Browning

When Jake Browning verbally committed to Washington Monday morning, it gave Chris Petersen arguably his biggest offensive piece to the recruiting puzzle going forward. By nabbing a top-170 prospect nationally regardless of position, the Huskies have already established themselves as serious players for top talent on the west coast for 2015. But what else does it mean?

Player Evaluation: Scout.com's Greg Biggins has this to day about Browning as a prospect: "He's a very polished quarterback, strong mechanically with a great natural feel for the position. He can make all the throws and shows off a live, accurate arm with very good touch on the deep ball but it's his leadership, poise and presence that sets him apart from others."

The Sacramento Bee's Joe Davidson, who has covered prep sports in that area for years, had this to say via Twitter in regard to Browning's decision to pick the Huskies. "What makes (Jake Browning) unique is pocket presence, poise, accuracy, instincts, guts. Most humble, ego-less, high-profile guy we've ever covered.

"He's a lot like Kellen Moore at Boise State. Can't rattle him. Extremely bright/focussed/driven…Excellent pocket passers, makes all the reads, but can run. Tough and durable."

That's extremely high praise from a reporter that has covered players like Shaquille Thompson during his time in Sacto. One thing that Browning has going for him - much like Moore did when he prepped at Prosser High - is that football is in his blood. His father Ed Browning played at Oregon State. In fact Browning was a quarterback on the 1991 OSU team that lost to eventual national champions Washington 58-6.

The younger Browning had a monstrous 2013 junior season, throwing for a state single-season record 75 Touchdowns and passing for 5,737 yards. He was named All-NorCal Player of Year, Metro Player of Year by the Sacramento Bee, Gatorade State Player of Year, Maxpreps National Junior Player of the Year and California Division I State Player of the Year.

As a sophomore, Browning was nearly as productive. He threw for a Northern California record 5,248 yards and 63 touchdowns. So that's nearly 11,000 passing yards and 138 touchdowns in high school, and he hasn't played a snap of his senior year yet. Missouri's Maty Mauk bested his brother Ben as the nation's all-time leading prep passer with 18,932 yards and 219 touchdowns, and those records look untouchable right now - but Browning is going to take a great crack at them come fall.

How is this commitment being seen by the college football community, and will it have a positive ripple effect for Husky recruiting going forward? - Here's a sampling of responses via Twitter on the Browning-to-UW news:

"Big pickup for #Washington in QB Jake Browning, very productive but more than system guy, has all the physical tools to excel at next level" - Scout.com's Greg Biggins.
"Switching gears, the Jake Browning commitment further answers the question if Petersen being at UW means he can get blue chips. Huge get." - TheVandalNation.com's Sean Kramer.
"Jake Browning's commitment continues Pac-12 run on top California QBs. Josh Rosen (UCLA) and Ricky Town (USC) also staying on West Coast." - SBNation's Tyler Donohue.
"Petersen gets his Kellen Moore?" - USATODAYSports' Michael Schwartz.

As far as going forward, we know what a high profile quarterback can do for recruiting. We saw it with Colin Porter and his comments after he verbally committed to Washington, specifically citing Nick Montana's commitment as one of the reasons why he stayed home and became a Husky. The quarterback is a player the team is supposed to rally behind, and that was the case with Keith Price and with Jake Locker before him. Who knows if one of the current UW quarterbacks will be able to rally that same spirit, but it seems as if the two quarterbacks that Petersen has identified have that in them. From everything we've read and seen, Browning is considered a big-time leader of his program.

That leadership extends to recruiting, and there's no doubt Browning is going to throw his weight into that part of the process too. If the reactions by signees like Brandon Lewis are any indication, the impact of Browning's commitment will have aftershocks. This is what Lewis tweeted out earlier Monday:

"@SacBee_JoeD @jake_browning LETS GOOOOOOOOO ??????#UDUB !!!!!"

@jake_browning congrats bruh! I'm super hyped hahaha can't wait to be on the same team. #BROWNING2UW"

Now it's just a matter of how many, and how big those aftershocks are felt within the program. If you are Chris Petersen right now, the bigger the effect Browning has on the 2015 recruiting class, the better that has to be for the Huskies down the road.

There is one negative aspect to all of this, and it does underline just how cruel the recruiting process can be at times. Washington offered Spokane quarterback Brett Rypien a scholarship nearly two months ago. Even before the offer it was apparent in conversations with the Shadle Park star - and nephew to WSU and NFL standout Mark Rypien - that he really wanted a Washington offer. He has the NFL in his sights one day and knows that a coach like Chris Petersen and his balanced offense can properly develop him for life as a professional football player.

That being said, Rypien never pulled the trigger on Washington's offer. He waited and wanted to do his due diligence and unofficially visit other schools before making a college decision. It's all very understandable and actually admirable that Rypien wanted to take his time and go through the process the right way to make arguably the biggest decision in his life so far.

But businesses don't work that way, and big-time college football is every bit the business the NCAA doesn't want you to believe it is. And with regard to business decisions, it's not personal. Browning originally planned on making an April 11th decision, which meant Rypien still thought he had time to unofficially visit Boise State this coming weekend before making his choice.

Whenever you have two highly qualified prospects competing for the same coveted scholarship and the staff's thought is - first come, first served - the players and parents are caught in a major Catch-22; do they commit first and then go from there and try to finesse visits to other schools while still maintaining that commitment, or do you take your time and go through all the steps you normally would when making a business decision of that magnitude?

Rypien waited, and in the end Rypien lost his chance to play for Washington. It's a crappy part of the recruiting process, but it happens. I bring all this up because it's doubly-difficult due to the fact that it happened to an in-state kid. Yes, Brett plays in Spokane, but who knows what kind of an impact this may have on in-state recruiting from here on out. It may have some sway with certain recruits; it may have absolutely no impact whatsoever. Obviously only time will tell.

What does this do to the UW quarterback position going forward? - Browning is the second quarterback to pledge his services to Petersen, following another Northern California prospect - K.J. Carta-Samuels. When you add Browning to the current UW quarterback crop of Cyler Miles, Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams, the position is now starting to look again how it did under Steve Sarkisian when he had five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster at the same time.

Miles' legal issues are still in the process of being resolved, so as long as there's no resolution there Petersen has to move forward hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. And that means getting Carta-Samuels ready to be available from the moment he gets on campus in the summer, as well as letting Browning know that he can come in and compete right away too. The more talented leaders Washington as at the quarterback spot, the better.


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