Devin Brown isn’t likely to see much playing time this year and will have to beat out at least one five-star quarterback to become Ohio State’s starter next year, but he isn’t bothered by that.
While some quarterbacks might have been scared off by the competition at Ohio State, Brown is embracing it. To that point, Brown was actually disappointed when Quinn Ewers announced he was leaving Ohio State – just two days after Brown announced his commitment to Ohio State – because he wanted to have the chance to beat him out.
“I was already committed before he left, and so I wanted to come and compete with him,” Brown said. “I competed with him at the Elite 11, and I got nothing but respect for him and I wanted him to go out and compete against him. That was my goal.”
Brown will still have plenty of competition in Columbus even though Ewers is now at Texas. While he could have a chance to compete for Ohio State’s starting quarterback next year, assuming C.J. Stroud enters the 2023 NFL draft, he’ll have to beat out Kyle McCord – a five-star recruit who’s already been at Ohio State for one year longer than Brown – and any other quarterback(s) that the Buckeyes might add to their roster before next season.
Instead of running from that competition, Brown ran toward it, believing it will make him a better quarterback in the long run.
“I think if I want to go do the big things, I gotta be with the best players around me,” Brown said during his first interview session as a Buckeye earlier this month. “You just have to put your time in and just keep your head down, just keep working. At the end of the day, it's not a big deal if you're not playing right away. You're gonna get your time.”
Brown gives off an air of confidence in himself, and he has good reason to be. He was ranked by On3 as the No. 1 overall prospect in the recruiting class of 2022 and as the No. 43 overall prospect in 247Sports’ composite rankings. Possessing elite arm strength and good mobility at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Brown seemingly has both the physical tools and mental makeup to follow in the footsteps of Stroud, Justin Fields and Dwayne Haskins and become Ryan Day’s next star quarterback at Ohio State.
“His athletic ability, ability to run, ability to throw is tremendous,” Day said when the Buckeyes signed Brown in December. “And then when you just talk to him, you just realize what an outgoing personality he is. Just has that magnetic way about him. The guys in the class have already grabbed onto him.
“He wanted to come to a place where he could compete at a high level, and wasn’t really concerned about who else was in the room. Just wanted to go and get after it.”
Brown believes playing for Day and Ohio State will bring the best out of him and help him get to the NFL, even if he has to wait his turn for his chance to start. And while Ohio State fans might have good reason to be concerned about quarterback transfers after Ewers’ rapid departure from Columbus, Brown says the Buckeyes have no reason to worry about his commitment to the program.
“I'm here through and through,” Brown said. “Never even thought about transferring, like that will never come to my mind.”
Although Stroud is locked in as Ohio State’s starting quarterback for this season, Brown plans to prepare as if he could play at any time. With only three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster this year, the Buckeyes will need Brown to be ready to play in case anything happens to Stroud or McCord, and he’ll try to push McCord for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart with a strong spring and summer.
“Depending where I'm at in spring ball and everything, I could be one play away from being in the game, so I still got to attack with that mentality of I could still be playing right away,” Brown said.
Even if he’s not on the field much this year, Brown wants to start establishing himself as a leader “right away” by showing his teammates and coaches that they can count on him every day.
“When we’re conditioning every morning, before we work out and everything, you gotta show it,” Brown said. “You gotta show you’re getting after it. You gotta show you’re really putting in the work.”
“You just have to put your time in and just keep your head down, just keep working. At the end of the day, it's not a big deal if you're not playing right away. You're gonna get your time.”– Devin Brown on embracing competition
In less than two months at Ohio State, Brown has already made a positive impression on his fellow early enrollees in the 2022 class.
“He's awesome,” offensive tackle George Fitzpatrick said. “He doesn't seem like the No. 1 player in the nation, just talking to him. He's very down to earth. He's very humble. So he’s a great guy.”
Kyion Grayes, one of the four wide receivers in Ohio State’s class of 2022, says Brown is everything he wants in a quarterback.
“Great quarterback. Smart. Reads the field, knows where he's going, puts the ball where you want it every single time. I mean, there's no more you can say about him,” Grayes said. “Devin’s a great person. He's fun to be around. What more can you ask for?”