By Ron Newberry
has touched down in Texas after a dizzying month of taking tests, catching flights and reaching milestones.
He won’t be able to catch his breath and process what he’s accomplished until after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Saturday in San Antonio.
"It really hasn't truly hit me all, of the great stuff that has happened," said Browne, one of the nation's top-rated high school quarterbacks who recently completed a record-setting football career at Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.)
. "I'll probably be feeling it a month from now at my dorm room at (U)SC. That's probably when it will hit me."
Browne is about to embark on a new chapter in his life as he'll begin classes at USC Jan. 14 and start gearing up for the Trojans' 2013 spring football practice. USC is ranked No. 3 in
our national recruiting rankings
For the past month, he's put the finishing touches on a high school career that his mother describes as concluding "like a story book."
And it's not over yet.
Browne's final high school game will be in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Saturday in San Antonio.See rosters of all the postseason All-American games
When Browne led Skyline to its second-consecutive Class 4A state championship, it was only the start of a rapid series of events.
Over the next three weeks, Browne would travel to Los Angeles for his official visit to USC, fly to Washington D.C., for a U.S. Army Bowl media event, take his finals at Skyline and graduate early, and show up for a surprise ceremony at school where he learned he'd been named the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson presented Browne with the trophy.
"Coaches knew," said Cheryl Brown, Max's mother. "Max had no idea."
Browne also discovered that USA Today named him as it offensive player of the year.
A look at his statistics reveals why. Browne, who stands 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, passed for 4,526 yards and 49 touchdowns with only five interceptions while leading Skyline to a 14-0 record.
He completed 73.5 percent of his passes, connecting on 277 of 377 attempts.
For his career, Browne played in four state championship games, winning two of the three he started. He passed for a state-record 12,951 yards and was third all-time in state history with 146 touchdown passes.
He began his career at Skyline with the unenviable task of succeeding Jake Heaps, the state's player of the year in 2008 and 2009 who led the Spartans to three state championships.
Although he didn't win as many titles as Heaps, Browne broke more records and won more accolades.
"Max is the best leader of any player I've been around," Skyline coach Mat Taylor said. "He has such a command to him and respect that I've never witnessed in all of my years of coaching. When he walks into a room, it's noticed."
Browne said as a kid, he didn't dream of playing college football or the NFL. He just wanted to be the starting quarterback at Skyline. He has faint memories of when he was youngster watching Skyline celebrate a state title in 2000, the year his brother Mitch was a star quarterback for the Spartans.
"I remember people asking me, ‘What's the hardest part of the recruiting process?'" Browne said. "I never really had a favorite school. I thought it would be cool to play college football and pro football. But my dream was always to be Skyline's quarterback. I wanted to start for Skyline High School."
That was something Browne did for three seasons, building memories that will last a lifetime. He said he plans to bring Skyline mementos with him to USC, including T-shirts and photographs.
He'll have plenty from an especially memorable senior season, particularly the events that unfolded in December.
"It's been crazy," Browne said. "You look back and it's the best, if not the most eventful, month in my life."
With Matt Barkley graduating, Browne is heading to USC to compete with Cody Kessler and Max Wittek for the Trojans' quarterback job.
"As far as competition goes, they tell me it's wide open," Browne said. "That's all I could ask for."Watch more videos of Skyline football