Browning: ‘If Every School In The World Offered Me, I Would Want To Go Here’
By Mason Kelley
Jake Browning settled into a seat in Washington’s team meeting room across from the locker room in Husky Stadium. One of the nation’s top quarterback prospects, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior was in Seattle for his first game at his future home.
Wearing a purple hooded sweatshirt, Browning leaned forward in a black leather chair with “W” on the back and thought about why he recently chose to sign a financial aid agreement with the Huskies.
He talked about playing for Washington coach Chris Petersen. He talked about the academic opportunities the university provides. He talked about living in Seattle.
Browning had offers from high-profile programs across the country, but he chose the Huskies, because he believes it is the perfect place to continue his career.
“If every school in the world offered me,” Browning said, “I would want to go here.”
The son of former Oregon State quarterback Ed Browning, Jake gravitated toward the game at an early age. The Folsom (Calif.) High School standout was never pushed to play, but his father taught him fundamentals. He showed his son how to carry himself on the field.
“He helped me through, but let me make my own mistakes where I could learn from them,” Browning said.
He first signed up to play football when he was 8, and he has been rewriting the record books in California ever since he put on a Bulldogs uniform.
So far in 2014, he has completed 115 of 162 passes for 2,021 yards and 32 touchdowns. He averages more than 400 passing yards per game. He has only thrown one interception.
After Folsom’s first win of the year, he became California’s all-time leader in career passing yardage and, in his second win of the season, he became the state’s all-time leader in touchdown passes.
He has thrown for 13,006 yards and 170 touchdowns as a high school quarterback. He is only halfway through his senior season.
To put his numbers in perspective, the national high school records for career passing yardage (18,932) and touchdown passes (219) are held by Maty Mauck, who played for Kenton High School in Kenton, Ohio.
Browning isn’t all that impressed by the gaudy numbers.
“I still feel like I’m just trying to win the next game,” he said.
As humble as he is talented, he would rather talk about team goals than individual accomplishments.
“We’re doing pretty well as a total offense,” Browning said. “We’re able to run the ball. We have really good line play. I think the biggest thing this year is we’re getting the ball back quickly. We had 10 drives in one of our first halves and that’s just a credit to our defense getting us the ball.
“Once we get it rolling, we’re a tough team to stop with defense, special teams and offense.”
With the way the pocket passer talks about his teammates, he is the definition of what Petersen considers an “O.K.G.”
Browning said he is “naturally competitive.” Off the field, though, he said he’s just a normal high school senior. His special talents are reserved for the football field.
Petersen first watched Browning play during the third game of the quarterback’s sophomore season. It was a Wednesday. The Bulldogs were playing Deer Valley High School from Antioch, Calif. Petersen, then the coach at Boise State, wore a sweater vest.
The only thing Browning can’t quite remember is whether or not Petersen was the first college coach who showed up to watch him play. One thing is certain: Petersen is the one coach who stood out.
“It was cool, because I watched Kellen Moore when I was younger,” Browning said. “I watched the Oklahoma game. It was kind of surreal. He (coach Petersen) is from around the same area I’m from. He’s a completely normal guy.”
Now that Browning has signed his financial aid agreement, he will enroll early so he can participate in spring football with the Huskies. While he is glad he has wrapped up the recruiting process, he isn’t quite ready to look ahead to what’s next.
“Graduating early is in the back of my mind, because we’ve got a season to focus on,” he said. “We’ve got some goals I want to accomplish before I even think about coming up here.”
Everything Browning wants to accomplish revolves around his team. Right now, his goal is to have a good week of practice, so he can help the Bulldogs’ win their next game.
Once his high school season wraps up, he will turn his attention to Washington. He will trade Folsom’s royal blue and red for purple and gold. He will go from high school to the Pac-12. His goals, though, those will remain unchanged.
“I want to play the best teams,” he said, “and beat the best teams.”