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.”
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.
“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.
“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).