Jake Browning college stats: Bengals backup QB’s road to first NFL start after starring at Washington

The Bengals are going to have to operate the rest of the 2023 season without Joe Burrow. Cincinnati’s star quarterback suffered a season-ending wrist injury in Week 11, leaving the Bengals with a massive hole at the most important position. 

Cincinnati was faced with limited options in replacing the signal-caller. With the trade deadline already passed, going out and acquiring a quarterback was not an option. There are a few choices out in the free-agent market, but nothing overly appealing. 

That left the Bengals with their in-house options and on Sunday, Burrow’s replacement will be a 27-year-old making his first NFL start: Jake Browning. 

Browning is in his third year with the Bengals organization. He was a practice squad member in 2021 and 2022, but the former Washington star beat out Trevor Siemian this preseason for the backup job. 

He will have plenty of weapons surrounding him, as Cincinnati boasts one of the stronger wide receiver rooms with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, as well as having Joe Mixon as the leader in the backfield. However, with the Bengals sitting at 5-5 in an ultra-competitive AFC North, Browning needs to be more than serviceable for the team to salvage its season. 

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Here is more on Browning and his path to becoming an NFL starter. 

Jake Browning high school

Browning was a popular player out of the West Coast during his high school years. He attended Folsom High School in Folsom, Calif., where he set national and California state records. 

In 46 games with Folsom, Browning threw for 16,775 yards and 229 touchdowns. His passing TDs not only set a California record but broke the national mark that had been held by Maty Mauk, a quarterback out of Kenton High School in Ohio. 

Browning set the California single-season passing yards record his junior year, and then broke his own mark as a senior with 5,790 yards. His 91 touchdown passes as a senior were the most in the nation in 2014. He won Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior and senior, and was a four-star recruit by Rivals.com coming out of high school. 

Jake Browning college stats

After an outstanding high school career, Browning committed to the University of Washington, joining the Huskies for the 2015 season. He became only the second true freshman starter at QB for Washington, joining Marques Tuiasopopo in the exclusive company. 

Browning’s sophomore campaign was a breakout year. He helped the Huskies to a 12-2 record and the program’s first Pac-12 championship since 2000. His 43 TDs were second in the nation, trailing only Toledo’s Logan Woodside. For his sensational efforts, he was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and he finished sixth in the 2016 Heisman Trophy voting. 

Washington played Alabama in the College Football Playoff that year, with the Huskies falling to the Crimson Tide in the semifinals. A couple of weeks later, Browning underwent shoulder surgery on his throwing arm, addressing an issue that was kept under wraps for nearly two months. 

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Browning’s sophomore campaign would go down as his best at Washington. As a junior, he broke the program’s career touchdown passes record and finished with his highest completion percentage, however a 7-2 conference record kept the Huskies out of the Pac-12 title game. 

In his senior year, Browning became the school’s all-time passing leader. He also delivered Washington its second Pac-12 championship in a span of three years, defeating Utah in the title game. Washington was invited to the 2018 Rose Bowl where the team lost to Ohio State. 

Season Games Completions Attempts Yards TDs INTs
2015 12 233 369 2,955 16 10
2016 14 243 391 3,430 43 9
2017 13 230 336 2,719 19 5
2018 14 252 388 3,192 16 10
Total 53 958 1,484 12,296 94 34

Was Jake Browning drafted?

Browning was eligible to be selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, however he was passed over by all 32 teams at the draft. 

As an undrafted free agent, Browning signed with the Vikings in 2019. He spent the 2019 and 2020 season as a member of Minnesota’s practice squad before moving on to Cincinnati. 

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