Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
Ohio State landed a commitment one of the Midwest's most versatile and explosive athletes when St. Louis Christian Brothers College four-star wide receiver Cameron Brown pledged his services to the Buckeyes on Wednesday afternoon.
Let's take a look at what Brown — the 58th-best wide receiver and No. 339 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — brings to Columbus.
ON THE FIELD
The first thing that stands out about the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Brown is his speed. He ran a laser-timed 4.51-second 40-yard dash at Nike Football’s The Opening Chicago Regional this spring, and finished second in the 100-meter dash at the Missouri state track meet with a time of 10.76 seconds.
Given the role reversal in their respective recruitments, Brown will almost certainly be compared to Nebraska wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey, who (more or less) flipped from Ohio State last January. It’s a fair comparison on the field, too, as their 40-yard dash times, vertical jump and shuttle times are eerily similar — which is interesting because Lindsey was one of the highest-ranked players in the country one year ago, while Brown is undervalued by most recruiting services.
Such is often the case, though, when comparing prospects from the Midwest to players from hotbed recruiting states or those who play for well-known powerhouse programs.
All that said, Brown is about four inches taller than Lindsey, which means he won’t be relegated to playing solely in the slot. He’s a good route runner who is fluid in his breaks and has the size and body control to go up and attack the football.
Brown was named first-team all-state this fall after he hauled in 58 receptions for 931 yards and 13 touchdowns to help the Cadets to the state championship. He became a focal point of the offense after his teammate and fellow four-star wide receiver target Kamryn Babb suffered a torn ACL in practice before the season.
IN THE CLASS
Brown becomes the 21st member of Ohio State’s Supreme ‘18 recruiting class, and joins the aforementioned Babb and four-star L’Christian “Blue” Smith at the wide receiver position.
As we mentioned when Babb made the call earlier this week, there’s a decent chance draft-eligible starters Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin test the NFL waters this offseason. That, as well as the uncertainty surrounding Trevon Grimes’ status with the team as he attends to a personal matter back home in Miami, made the Buckeyes chase three wideouts this cycle.
Ohio State showed interest in several other wide receivers, such as California three-star Chris Olave. But Babb played a large role in this decision, and you could argue he’s is the biggest reason Brown became interested in playing in Columbus in the first place.
With an unusually deep in-state recruiting class for the Class of 2018, Missouri head coach Barry Odom said earlier this year it was critical for the Tigers to keep players like Babb and Brown home.
“It’s one of the best [classes] in recent memory, if not the best ever,” Odom said earlier this year. “We know that it’s not going to be an easy feat when you’ve got Alabama and Ohio State coming into your state and offering kids, but we’ve got to take care of home.”
Well, so much for that.
With Brown's decision, the Tigers are on the verge of seeing six of the Top 10 players in the state opt to play elsewhere. And for the Buckeyes, it's just the latest in a long line of the staff identifying a talent-rich state with an underachieving program.
Just ask Maryland (quarterback Dwayne Haskins and defensive end Chase Young), Texas (running back J.K. Dobbins, cornerback Jeffrey Okudah and linebacker Baron Browning) and Tennessee (running back Master Teague and offensive tackle Max Wray) what it's like to see their top homegrown talent succeed in Columbus.