Sam Darnold is challenging Max Browne in USC's quarterback competition

Fourth-year junior Max Browne might not run away with USC’s quarterback competition after all. 

Redshirt freshman Sam Darnold is closing in on Browne after eight spring practices.

“There is a gap and I think obviously Max is in the lead right now, but if you look at the plays Sam has made over the last couple of practices, he is flashing some brilliance out there,” Coach Clay Helton said Thursday.

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Seven practices remain on the schedule, including a scrimmage April 16 at the Coliseum.

Browne, Cody Kessler’s backup the last two seasons, was widely considered the favorite to win the starting job despite an impressive camp by Darnold last fall.

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