He isn’t the next Kellen Moore, though the similarities are there.
He’s the current-day Jake Browning, setting his own nice standard of excellence.
It’s fun and common fare to compare quarterbacks, and it happens a lot in the recruiting process as a frame of reference.
When Browning was lighting up defenses at Folsom High School to the tune of 16,775 career passing yards and a national prep record 229 touchdown passes – and he is the only high school player with three successive 60-touchdown/5,000-yard passing seasons – Bulldogs coaches would tell Chris Petersen to take notice. This is a Moore-like winner.
As in: poised, polished and prolific, if not large in stature. Moore was a Boise State star under Petersen and now plays for the Dallas Cowboys.
As a junior at Folsom, Browning gave a commitment to Petersen at Boise State, then switched to Washington when the coach moved to Seattle to take the Huskies’ job. Petersen worked coaching wonders in Idaho partly because Moore was so efficient in winning 50 games for the Broncos, standing tall despite his 6-foot frame.
Browning is taller at 6-2 but similar to Moore in approach and humble demeanor. As a freshman last year, Browning threw for 2,955 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Huskies, who went 7-6.
Washington begins the season ranked No. 14 in the nation, thanks to a wealth of returning talent, none more critical than Browning. Still, rankings amuse Petersen, who wants his team to prove it on the field beginning Saturday against visiting Rutgers.
What’s already proven is Browning’s skill and leadership. And Petersen can relate to talk of not being the protype 6-5 quarterback. He did just fine as a 6-foot passer at Yuba City High, Sacramento City College and at UC Davis, where he set Division II efficiency rating records and caught the coaching bug.
“We feel good about Jake,” Petersen told 710 ESPN Radio in Seattle. “He did a good job for being a first-year player in 2015. He’s got a bunch of experience, and I think from spring ball, he’s taken the next step and continues to impress and improve.
“And I think the key is getting everybody around him to take that next step and improve their game, and if they can, we’ll score more points, which no question what this team needs to do.”
The Huskies also need to protect Browning better. He was sacked 30 times last season. In a habit he started at Folsom, Browning spends extra time studying film and working with teammates. He continues to take his role quite seriously.
“(Browning) is pretty focused, pretty driven, a really competitive guy that will put the work in to continually get better,” Petersen said. “He’s a really good pocket passer, which is what we always want.
“It’s going to be all these subtle nuances that will take a guy from being pretty solid to really good. A lot of people don’t know why, but it’s thousands of reps, being great in the pocket, delivering the ball with tremendous anticipation and doing it with a lot of accuracy. He knows we know he can get better in those areas, and he is, and so we’re excited to see.
“Only time will tell, really, how good he is.”
Return to the trenches – Gavin Andrews is back in the mix for Oregon State.
The Granite Bay graduate missed last season because of a foot injury, which relegated the 6-6, 325-pound right guard to flashing hand signals from the sideline to linemen between plays.
Now healthy, the senior had a good summer camp and has regained his starting job as the Beavers prepare to open at Minnesota on Thursday. Andrews has been dominant since his prep days, more than holding his own in a head-to-head playoff battle with Pleasant Grove’s Arik Armstead, who played at Oregon and was a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2015.
Andrews is also a pro prospect, having started at guard and tackle for Oregon State.
Andrews injured his foot in the 2015 spring game and was redshirted last season. Said Oregon State coach Gary Andersen a year ago: “We’re going to put (Andrews) in a position to be a great player, not a good player – a year from now. God just didn’t hand out very many bodies like that.”