After four straight wins, the Buckeyes are starting to pull everything together and are beginning to look like a cohesive group. Several members of the offense have stepped up and become household names, one of which is wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown. Year after year, this young man wins awards for his outstanding play and as a junior, is looking to have his best season yet.
With Braxton Miller having a complete off-season with Coach Urban Meyer, his passing skills have improved ten-fold, which will allow Ohio State’s wide receivers more touches and scoring opportunities. Even when Miller was struggling with the pass game, Brown still made things happen and did his best to help the offense.
Fittingly, Corey gets his nickname from his roots, he’s from and played ball just outside of Philadelphia. He was an Under Armour All-American after high school, where he rushed for over 3,000 yards, had over 1,500 receiving yards, scored 50 touchdowns and was selected twice as an all-state player. His high school football career wasn’t the only thing impressive about Brown, he was also all-state in track and held a county record for the 200-meter dash (21.4).
Corey’s freshmen year as a Buckeye, he played as a back-up to the very skilled DeVier Posey, now of the Houston Texans. Playing with such an explosive player is a great help with learning and understanding the game, but unfortunately affects the numbers for his rookie season. During the 2010 season, he had eight receptions for 105 yards and one touchdown and received the Ohio State team’s Outstanding First-Year Offensive Player award.
Brown did his best to keep his and the team’s momentum during the 2011 season; this is the season I like to call “our transitional phase.” With Posey suspended for a large majority of the season, it was Brown’s turn to shine, unfortunately for him, Braxton Miller was still a Freshmen and his throwing ability was not going to help any of the wide receivers. Philly started nine times in 2011, and (in a some-what depressing stat) tied the team lead with 14 catches for 205 yards and 1 touchdown (yes, he tied the lead with only 1 touchdown, that’s the depressing part). He continued winning awards though, and won the Paul Warfield Award as the team’s outstanding receiver.
Going into this season, Brown topped all receivers at Ohio State with 22 career receptions for 310 yards and two touchdowns. The 2012 season is only in week 5 and it’s making his past stats look comical. This season, the Buckeyes have battled Miami (OH), UCF, Cal and UAB; Brown has racked up 20 receptions for 233 yards and 1 touchdown. He’s already passed his single season best for receptions and yards, and based on the way he’s been playing, it’s only a matter of time before he crushes his single season touchdown record of one.
Ohio State’s offense is using Brown for more than just catching the ball; he’s had 4 rushing attempts already this season for 42 yards. He is proving to be a universal player and the fact he’s not targeted in the red zone is based on the fact that typically when we get close enough to score, it’s simplest to just have Miller run it in. Coach Urban Meyer is the first to admit there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on both sides of the ball and if I had to guess, big plays and passing touchdowns are something they’re working on.
As only a junior, Corey Brown will be valuable both this season and next. The Buckeyes can go all the way next year, and as a senior I’m sure he will be fighting for a championship. He got the opportunity to work with Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor, and now gets the chance to play under Urban Meyer with Braxton Miller; does it get any better than that?