Pitt football team receives pair of new commitments for 2017



Former USC quarterback Max Browne (4) throws on the run during first-half action against Utah State at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. USC won, 45-7. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

The Pitt football team received a pair of commitments to join next year’s team Thursday, one from a high school prospect and one from a proven veteran at the college level.

Graduate transfer quarterback Max Browne and three-star offensive lineman Jerry Drake Jr. both announced their intentions Thursday to join the Panthers in 2017. With Pitt preparing for the loss of Nathan Peterman, Browne will give the team an experienced option at quarterback next season. Drake, meanwhile, gives the Panthers 17 verbal commitments in their 2017 recruiting class.

Browne, a native of Sammamish, Washington, requested his release from USC in November after losing the starting job to first-year signal caller Sam Darnold in Week 3. Once considered the top quarterback prospect in the country coming out of high school, Browne redshirted in 2013 before serving as USC’s backup quarterback in 2014 and 2015.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound gunslinger completed 69 out of 112 passes for 650 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in 14 games played. He announced his decision to enroll at Pitt in January via Twitter.

Drake is a 6-foot-7, 300-pound offensive lineman from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He chose the Panthers over offers from several powerhouse programs, such as Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Michigan State and Tennessee. Drake, a three-star prospect according to Rivals, is the fifth offensive lineman in Pitt’s 2017 recruiting class. He announced his decision Thursday via Twitter.

Although prospects can make verbal commitments, they still have more than a month to change their minds. Recruits in the 2017 class can officially sign National Letters of Intent on Feb. 1.

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