The 17th installment of this year's Better Know a Buckeye series returns to the East Coast to profile Noah Brown, an athlete from Sparta Township in New Jersey. Like Curtis Samuel profiled last week, Brown will enroll at Ohio State as an "athlete" without a formal designation. The coaches expect him to be a true "X receiver" who is aligned on the line of scrimmage. Given his size and speed, this is an intriguing potential development for Brown at Ohio State.
This profile introduces him here, beginning with a recruiting battle that, as for Samuel, was primarily between Ohio State and Rutgers. Afterward, I discuss his September 9th commitment to Ohio State shortly after his official visit. The feature proceeds normally from there. I discuss strengths and areas for improvement before offering a projection of a redshirt in 2014. After including highlight film, I conclude with miscellaneous things about Noah Brown you may find interesting.
High School: Pope John XXIII Regional High School; Sparta Township, NJ
Ohio State took first notice of Noah Brown in May 2013, extending an offer on the 9th. With irons in the fire for both Austin Roberts (UCLA) and Mike Gesicki (Penn State), it would have been difficult to pass on him given how impressive his junior year film was. By that time, Brown had offers from programs like North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Syracuse, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others. Notre Dame had just offered as well.
Ohio State was saying all the right things as well. His recruitment was all Ohio State through the summer. Brown was not mincing words either when he said Ohio State was a clear leader for his verbal commitment. This was said after his unofficial visit to Ohio State for its Friday Night Lights camp. Knowing that Brown wanted to make a decision before his senior year started, this would have been sufficient to predict an eventual verbal commitment to Ohio State.
It was not that cut and dry, though. Amid some uncertainty regarding his position with Ohio State, Brown said he was planning some visits to places like Rutgers, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech. Rutgers surged during the late summer and early fall of 2013. In fact, most crystal ball predictions that had him solid to Ohio State flipped to Rutgers accordingly. After an unofficial visit to Rutgers in the first week of August, Brown was reticent to say Ohio State was his leader.
"I spoke with coach Flood for a long time," said Brown. "He pretty much gave me the same talk we have every time about the opportunity that is there at Rutgers and how much they want me there. And he talked about the potential of the class that could be coming in to rep(resent) Jersey if I came."
Brown, who recently announced Ohio State as his leader, has Rutgers pulling closer in a race to the finish. He addressed if the Buckeyes were still in the lead for his services after Tuesday's visit.
"I haven't really thought about that yet," he said. "I will discuss that with my family later on when I decide to narrow my list down a bit. Right now, I'm just trying to sit back and take in as much info as possible."
Focusing on Rutgers, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech, Ohio State seemed to be losing its position before a commitment date tentatively scheduled for the middle of September.
This position was subject to an abrupt change when Brown announced he would take an official visit to Ohio State for its game against San Diego State. Since the visit was five days before the date by which Brown wanted to terminate his recruitment, a verbal commitment to Ohio State seemed inevitable.
Content with his visit to Ohio State and the red carpet treatment he received, Brown announced a verbal commitment to Ohio State the Monday afterward.
Brown also did a video interview discussing his recruitment and the reasons for his commitment.
Where He Excels
Brown is an unusual selection for an Ohio State recruiting class that I have observed over the past ten years. He has a frame that bodes well for a future running back or tight end with the speed of a split end.
For what it is worth, Ohio State's coaches want him as a split end, an "X" wide receiver who aligns on the line of scrimmage pre-snap. Ohio State's coaches feel Brown has the type of body and power that can overwhelm press coverage when press coverage presents itself.
Put another way, Noah Brown's ceiling (if he reaches it) is David Boston. He has stated that this is his goal.
— Noah Brown (@nb_dosuno) March 22, 2014
Brown's projection to a split end is attributable to his hand-eye coordination. A prospect of his size and his speed could be a solid H-back or an otherworldly split end. Ohio State coaches are betting on the latter.
Must Work On
Brown did everything for his Pope John XXIII team. Put in other words: he is a jack of all trades and a master of none at the moment. He is powerful without break-away speed. This could make him one-dimensional as a receiver. He will need work with his routes, which goes without saying for any wide receiver prospect transitioning from high school to college.
The intriguing question concerns his frame. Can he add more "good weight" to his frame and keep or improve his speed? If so, he can reach a ceiling that could make him a star at Ohio State and earn him an invite to the NFL Draft's green room. If not, he can transition to H-back and do well. He would be less dynamic for it, though.
I am struggling with this one. My instinct says "yes" because it is not clear to me that Brown can do something in his first year that can not be done with somebody who has eligibility to burn. Still, Brown is more versatile than the average freshman. I'm still leaning toward "yes".
This is senior year.
- 11W Community Interview.
- Received quite possibly the worst recruiting mailer ever from Rutgers.
- Had 1,363 total offensive yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior en route to First Team All-New Jersey honors. He was named the West Jersey Player of the Year.
- Missed his sophomore season with a punctured lung.
- He wanted to end his recruitment when he did so he can focus his senior season on finally winning a state championship. However, the season ended in the state championship game with a 62-14 loss to St. Joseph's in MetLife Stadium.