New Jersey wide receiver Noah Brown was the 18th player to commit to Urban Meyer’s 2014 class, way back on Sept. 9, 2013. As far as I know, he’s the first athlete from Sparta, NJ, to commit to Ohio State in any sport since Chris Jent joined the basketball team in 1989.
Brown doesn’t fit the usual mold for a collegiate wide receiver. Solidly built at 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds, he could bulk up and play tight end, yet he possesses enough athleticism that he was the second string H-back late in the season after Dontre Wilson was injured.
As a high school senior in 2013, the composite four-star recruit caught 41 passes for 857 yards and 14 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,363 yards and 21 touchdowns over his final two high school seasons, becoming a first-team All-New Jersey selection and the West Jersey Player of the Year as a senior.
He helped lead his team to the state championship game and his prep play impressed enough that he was the No. 9 athlete in his class by Rivals and No. 13 by 247Sports.
Last year, Brown caught one pass for nine yards and carried the ball once for a four-yard loss as a college freshman, trying to break into a deep and talented receiving corps.
Although he has yet to make the impact he’d like, Brown is poised to take on a much bigger role in 2015. He lacks the kind of top-end speed necessary to challenge for Devin Smith’s vacated position in the starting lineup, but he’s got the makeup to potentially become the new Evan Spencer.
For all his lack of statistics, few players have been as valuable as Spencer was to the 2014 National Championship team, so following in his footsteps wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Assuming Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson remain the top two options at H-back, Brown could be best used as a receiver and also provide devastating downfield blocking on running plays. He could also continue to provide depth behind the two H-backs, since he displayed ability as a running back in high school.
In fact, this is how I expect Brown to be used in 2015. He will compete for time at the ‘X’ receiver spot, while providing depth at H-back and will get on the field as a blocker more and more frequently as the year goes on.
Will he become the new Evan Spencer?
Potentially he could provide more of a threat as a receiver than Spencer ever did. He has the physical tools to become a starting receiver and his size and strength give him a shot at becoming an even better blocker than Spencer was.
He may never throw a perfect touchdown pass against Alabama in the College Football Playoff (probably), but he certainly has the tools to replace a guy Meyer called the team’s MVP.