After he visited Ohio State on Nov. 20, one question was fair to ask: Why?
Why would four-star 2022 quarterback Devin Brown, once a USC commit, want to join a crowded Ohio State quarterback room that already has a likely Heisman Trophy finalist in C.J. Stroud and two five-star recruits in Quinn Ewers and Kyle McCord?
The answer really became simple: He believes in himself and isn’t afraid of a quarterback competition, regardless of who may be in the quarterback room. He wants to become the best possible quarterback he can be, and he believes Ohio State is the place to hone his skills.
"With my decision, a big thing was being a competitor," Brown told 247Sports. "Growing up my dad would always bring up other quarterbacks and tell me they were better than me. That just made me work harder and my whole life I've been working to be the best. I love that underdog mentality. I want to go up against the best in every moment and I want to go compete against the best in college. So I'm going to be a Buckeye."
The 6-foot-3, 189-pound signal caller spent his visit in late November getting acquainted with quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis and Ryan Day, then announced his commitment to Ohio State on Wednesday after they visited him at his home in Utah earlier this week.
Brown believes in Ryan Day’s ability to develop quarterbacks, a commodity continuing to be proven with the success of Justin Fields, Dwayne Haskins and Stroud under Day’s mentorship. He has said he plans on enrolling early to participate in spring football, so Brown will be at Ohio State in just over a month.
On the field
Brown is blessed with a cannon for an arm, as evidenced by his record-breaking senior season. In 14 games for Corner Canyon High School (Draper, Utah) this year, Brown threw for a Utah single-season state record 4,881 yards and 57 touchdowns. While he's a prolific passer, he's not too shabby of a runner either, rushing for 451 yards and eight touchdowns his senior year to give him a combined 65 total touchdowns in a magnificent senior campaign.
He helped lead the Chargers to an undefeated season and a state championship. He played just one season at Corner Canyon after transferring from Queen Creek High School in Queen Creek, Arizona, where he played for former Buckeye quarterback Joe Germaine.
Brown is adept in running a shotgun spread offense, the system he played in at Corner Canyon, where his offense mostly lined up in three- or four-wide receiver sets. He is capable of making any throw downfield and attacking the deep third. His film shows he can hit a wide receiver in stride while tightly covered.
At 6-foot-3 and 189 pounds, Brown has a sturdy frame that he’ll build on when he arrives on campus. He's not the fastest runner in the world, clocking in at a 5.27-second 40-yard dash, but his big frame made it difficult for inferior defenders in high school to bring him down.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of his highlight film is his patience. Brown doesn’t unnecessarily speed up his internal clock, usually waits for plays to develop and runs through his progressions methodically, although rarely he'll lock in on one target. His release is quick and the spiral he throws is tight, and he's even capable of making a defensive end miss on a sack when he gets into a precarious spot. He can make tightly-contested throws on the run without losing much zip on his passes.
Brown's timing on most throws is consistent regardless of if the offense is using a short, intermediate or downfield passing attack. If there's one drawback to his game, it's that he can be a tad too aggressive sometimes, as Brown loves to throw the ball deep, which occasionally leads to an unwise decision.
Brown participated in this year’s Elite 11 Finals and is an All-American Bowl selection.
In the class
Once Ewers reclassified to 2021, Ohio State really wanted to find another quarterback for its 2022 class. The Buckeyes tried flipping in-state passer Drew Allar from Penn State to no avail. After that, it became Brown or bust.
Brown will be the only quarterback in Ohio State’s recruiting class of 2022. As mentioned earlier, he will get a head start on learning the offense by enrolling next semester. But Brown is unlikely to see immediate playing time for the Buckeyes.
Stroud has at least one more season with the Buckeyes and is all but guaranteed to be the starter in 2022, and Brown will have to battle with Ewers and McCord for position on the depth chart behind Stroud. It's possible Jack Miller won’t be the only Ohio State quarterback to transfer, but OSU carried four scholarship quarterbacks in 2021 and will ideally want to do the same in 2022.
With Brown's commitment to Ohio State, the Buckeyes now have eight commits in the top 100 nationally, including five in the top-60. The Buckeyes’ class of 2022 includes 17 total commitments: one five-star, 15 four-stars and one three-star recruit.
In addition to Ohio State, Brown visited Ole Miss, Texas, USC, BYU and UCLA this fall. Texas was viewed as the biggest competition for the services of Brown, who decommitted from USC just last week, but Day and Dennis won this recruiting battle when it counted.