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Russell Wilson surprises Max Browne with Gatorade National Football POY Award

Max Browne, left, is surprised with the 2012-13 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year trophy by Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. / Gatorade, Susan Goldman

Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) senior quarterback Max Browne’s success is built upon a belief in himself.

But Browne doubted his own eyes Tuesday morning when Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson ambushed him with news that he had been named the 2012-13 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year.

“Talk about having to pinch yourself,” Browne said. “This was a complete surprise. I knew this award was still out there, but there are obviously some great players out there, too. I’m very fortunate because I was in some big-time company competing for this.”

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Browne joins the likes of Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as Gatorade National Football Players of the Year.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Rated the nation’s No. 1 quarterback prospect by multiple recruiting services, Browne is now a finalist for the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award

Browne, a 6-foot-5, 218-pound senior quarterback who has committed to USC, led the Spartans to a 14-0 record and a second straight Class 4A state championship this fall. Browne passed for 4,526 yards, 49 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

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“This is a very prestigious award and Max is a very deserving winner,” Wilson said. “Gatorade found a great human being and great football player here. I’m just glad I could be here to share the moment with him.”

A two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year, Browne broke the state record for career passing yards (12,953) and completions (882) during his senior campaign. He surpassed Detroit Lions quarterback and 2006-07 Gatorade Washington Player of the Year Kellen Moore for the completions mark.

MORE: Gatorade State Football Players of the Year

“If there is a better high school quarterback in the country, I’d like to see him,” said Bothell coach Tom Bainter, whose team lost to Skyline, 33-21, this year. “He is way better than even his stats describe. He plays the game the right way, displaying sportsmanship and humbleness that is both appreciated and admirable.”

Browne has maintained a 3.50 GPA. A three-time Skyline High Student of the Month Citizenship Award recipient, he has volunteered on behalf of Issaquah Parks and Recreation, the Sammamish/Issaquah Young Life ministry and as an intern with G2 Physical Therapy. He has also worked with Generation Joy and helped raise funds to benefit cancer research.

WATCH: Wilson Surprises Browne

Browne will graduate early to begin attending classes at USC during the upcoming spring semester.

Browne becomes the second football player from Washington to earn the national award, joining former Puyallup star Brock Huard, who won in 1994-95. Browne also becomes Washington’s sixth overall Gatorade National Player of the Year regardless of sport since the program was established in 1985.

California has produced the most national winners in program history with 58, followed by Texas (27) and Florida (19).



2013-14 National Winners

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    Baseball POY

    Tullahoma (Tenn.) star baseball player Justus Sheffield named 2013-14 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year

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    Boys T&F AOY

    Cherryville (N.C.)Trentavis Friday named 2013-14 Gatorade National Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

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    Girls T&F AOY

    Burke (Charleston, S.C.) shot put star Raven Saunders has been named the 2013-14 Gatorade National Track & Field Athlete of the Year

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    Softball POY

    Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, Calif.) softball star Taylor McQuillin named Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year

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    Boys Soccer POY

    Dunn School (Los Olivos, Calif.) senior Abu Danladi named Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

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    Girls Soccer POY

    Jefferson Forest (Forest, Va.) soccer start Katie Cousins named the 2013-14 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year

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    Boys Basketball POY

    St. Joseph High (Metuchen, NJ) senior Karl Towns Jr. named the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

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    Girls Basketball POY

    Manvel (Texas) senior Brianna Turner named the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

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    Football POY

    Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) defensive tackle Andrew Brown named Gatorade National Football Player of the Year.

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    Volleyball POY

    Assumption High (Louisville, Ky.) setter Alexa Filley named Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year.

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    Boys XC ROY

    Grand Blanc (Mich.) distance runner Grant Fisher named Gatorade National Boys XC Runner of the Year. 

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    Girls XC ROY

    Camas (Wash.) junior Alexa Efraimson named the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

2013-14 State Winners