Devin Brown Honors Sammy Baugh With Number Change, Plans to Wear No. 33 During the 2023 Season: "I Want to Rock the Original Quarterback Number"

By Chase Brown on March 7, 2023 at 12:35 pm
Devin Brown
Adam Cairns / Columbus Dispatch

When Ohio State released its jersey numbers for spring practices, one stood out: Devin Brown in No. 33.

Brown understands the change from No. 15 to No. 33 may seem strange to others, but with a deeper look, the second-year Buckeye believes the switch makes perfect sense, as the number honors a football player he considers a legend in the sport.

"The reason behind it was Sammy Baugh," Brown said after Ohio State's first spring practice. "He was the first quarterback inducted into the (Pro Football) Hall of Fame in 1963 with the Washington Football Team, so he's a legend. That's the original quarterback number, in my opinion. I want to rock the original quarterback number."

“That's the original quarterback number, in my opinion. I want to rock the original quarterback number."– Devin Brown on wearing No. 33

It's uncommon for a 19-year-old to know about Baugh, a standout at TCU from 1934-36 who later threw for 21,886 yards and 187 touchdowns across 165 games as a professional from 1937-52. However, Brown said his love for "Slingin' Sammy" started when he was a child and learned about football from his father.

"My Dad has always talked about it," Brown said. "I put it on when I was 7 years old and had never taken it off until high school."

Day confirmed Brown's reason for picking Baugh's number in a press conference before the media met with Brown on the indoor football field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Day said he was initially surprised by Brown's decision, claiming the number made him think of Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird before Baugh. But once Brown explained his family history with the number and infatuation with Baugh, Day said he was on board.

"He came in and said that was something his family has done for a while," Day said. "He said that was important to him. I said, 'OK, you're gonna stand out a little bit. Are you gonna be alright with that?' He said, 'As long as you're good with it, I am good with it.' So he's gonna take a run at 33.

"He's never shied away from competition and never shied away from grabbing onto something. This is something he feels strongly about. He's gonna blaze his own path with that number, and good for him. When you think about his recruitment and everything that went on, he's not a guy that shies away from things, so I have no problem with it."

Under current NCAA rules, the organization only strongly recommends numbering players according to their positions under Rule 1 Section 4 Article 1. However, the NCAA has no specific regulations that would keep Brown from wearing No. 33 in an official game for the Buckeyes.

Knowing this, Brown offered a quick and confident response when asked if he plans to wear the number throughout the fall. 

"Yes, sir."

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