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March 12, 2012
Sooners Make Most of a First Impression
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With the recruiting world's ever-quickening calendar unofficial visits are quickly becoming the new official visit - a school's biggest, and perhaps only, chance to make a strong impression on their top targets. Such was likely the case for Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline five-star quarterback Max Browne during his trip to Norman this weekend.
The 6-foot-5, 202-pound prospect made his first trip to Norman and according to the nation's No. 1 signal caller, it was both successful and eventful.
"The visit went really well, I knocked it not knowing what to expect, I had talked with coach (Josh) Heupel a bunch and coach (Bob) Stoops one time," Brown said. "I walked in open-minded and they really rolled out the red carpet, it was action-packed, I would go back to my hotel and just fall asleep - in a good way. When I was done, I was just worn out."
In fact the Sooners so completely covered the bases that Browne was left scrambling for questions at the conclusion of the visit on Saturday night.
"After the second day, Stoops asked if there was any question. Honestly, I was trying to think of any questions, to be respectful, and I came up with a few but they really answered everything I could think of," he said. "I'm really glad I was able to make the visit work out, it went very well."
The strong-armed quarterback came into the visit talking about finding a comfort level with the campus and the people around it. Interestingly he had some hopes of finding that familiarity with not just those around the football facilities but getting a feel for the entirety of the community.
While it may not have happened just the way he had hoped, there was a particular win of the program that he hadn't expected much from that truly stood out.
"I didn't get to see a lot of the community, most of my time was football and academics but you do get a good sense of the people. You watch coach Stoops with everyone saying hello and you see students walking around smiling and having fun. The thing I noticed about the people - usually at a school, you have the strength and conditioning guys that are rock 'em sock 'em, you know 'we're here to do work'. They are obviously like that, they work hard, but I've never had a strength staff so approachable.
"And the same with the players, some of them knew I was coming because of Twitter and stuff. Coach Stoops said hey this is Max Browne, and the guys they easily could have been, kind of thinking I thought I was a hot-shot big time guy but there wasn't any of that. They were coming up, introducing themselves, saying they were glad to have me there and you really notice how nice everyone is talking with the players and coaches."
So was he able to spend any personal time around the players?
"I had dinner with some of the guys on one of the nights. My dad and I were able to talk with coaches and players, it wasn't like an official visit where I was able to just hang out with them," he said. "One common denominator for guys at Oklahoma - any guy that signs with Oklahoma is a competitor.
"The schools I'm interested in, they are pretty familiar with winning.
"Talking to the Oklahoma coaching staff that's something they talked about - 'if you come here, we're going to be consistent'. Coach Stoops is there to stay, coach Heupel is there to stay, they are winning year in and year out. The mentalities that the guys take, I know something about that with winning the state title one year and coming in second another.
"I don't know what it is at Oklahoma, but you notice it, guys come there to work. Whether it's the coaching staff finding guys like that or that's just kind of how you get there, if you just take on the mentality from the older guys when you arrive. We have to work to get where to want to be."
That type of winning mentality is something that Browne is familiar with as the lead signal-caller to one of Washington's premier programs. Like many of Oklahoma's earlier offers, Browne's career at a quality program is part of what makes him attractive to the Oklahoma coaching staff.
"That's funny you said that, coach was saying they like what they saw on tape. Coach was saying that they like that I've been in big games, it's not the Red River Rivalry per se but you know, they liked that I'd been in big games," he said.
While watching tape Browne says he got confirmation of something he had seen but not fully known since Oklahoma started recruiting him.
"We watched film, but to be completely honest, you watch film at Oklahoma and you watch film at Skyline, they were preaching that it's very similar and actually some of the terminology is the exact same," Browne recalled. "Oklahoma, it's more complex and high-paced but it is similar and we watched some Kansas State and Texas film," he said. "The offense, It's a well-oiled machine, they put up points and you can see why they have Heisman trophy winners, award winners, and all kind of scoring records.
Browne came to Norman open to all the newness of the program and it's environment. While so much of the trip went well he admits there was an adjustment period from the minute he stepped off the plane in Oklahoma City.
"It was kind of a culture shock, it's not a bad thing, it's just different. In Washington you look right and left, and it's trees and mountains, but in Oklahoma, it's flat. With that, it's a really compact campus and you walk through one door and you're from the weight room to the class," he said. "As far as what was so impressive, the new dorms they are putting in, they are really cool. I didn't know what to expect going in, but with those coming in the fall 2013 - they would be really exciting for any player on that team."
As mentioned the timing of Oklahoma's visit could be key with Browne talking for quite some time about being done before the start of his season. Now it seems that speed may be even further accelerated.
"I'm not going to shut any doors by saying these are the schools I'm serious about. This process is moving along pretty quickly and I'm starting to see what schools have, I could definitely see it happening before the summer."