USC gives QB Max Browne permission to talk transfer

LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California has granted quarterback Max Browne permission to speak with other programs about a possible transfer, though the redshirt junior remains with the team.

Trojans coach Clay Helton said Tuesday that Browne can speak to any FBS program, including other schools in the Pac-12. Browne would be immediately eligible to play next season as a graduate transfer from USC (5-3, 4-2 Pac-12).

''He has graduated from this university and has done everything right, so he deserves the opportunity to find his perfect fit, whether that is here or someplace else,'' said Helton, who took the starting job away from Browne after three games this season. ''The biggest thing is just to get the word out.''

After three years in the tumultuous USC program as a redshirt and Cody Kessler's backup, Browne passed for 481 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but USC went 1-2 while scoring just one touchdown in its losses to top-ranked Alabama and defending conference champion Stanford.

Browne then lost his position to redshirt freshman Sam Darnold, who has led USC on a four-game winning streak after losing his debut at Utah. Darnold has been excellent while passing for 1,565 yards with 18 touchdown passes.

Darnold has thrown 16 TD passes with just two interceptions during the Trojans' four-game winning streak. USC hosts Oregon on Saturday.

Browne was regarded as the top pro-style quarterback in the 2013 recruiting cycle after a record-setting career at Skyline in Sammamish, Washington. Long-departed coach Lane Kiffin recruited him, but Browne stuck with the Trojans through several coaching changes, including last season's switch to Helton, his former position coach.