St. Louis wide receiver Cameron Brown signed with Ohio State on Wednesday after spending months as a Nebraska verbal commit. After he received his OSU offer in June, he decommited from the Huskers and many thought it was just a matter of time before he was a Buckeye. Brown ended up recommitting to Nebraska two months later, but an official visit to OSU in December obviously had an impact.
Player: Cameron Brown (Christian Brothers College/St. Louis, MO)
Position: Wide Receiver
Ranking: 247Sports Composite 4-Star; No. 60 wide receiver; No. 342 player overall
The first thing you’ll want to know about Cameron Brown is that he is fast, but that’s far from where the positives end. At 6-1 175, he will need to get stronger, but everything he does in high school shows that he is already pretty strong. Brown is a very willing run blocker. He’ll be dealing with larger defenders next year, but the desire to help in the running game is definitely there.
As a receiver, Brown does possess two hands, but sometimes he only needs one when the ball is in the air. He is able to catch the football in traffic down the field, but he’s also comfortable in traffic over the middle of the field. His arms don’t shorten and when he catches the ball over the middle, he’s not looking to get down, he’s looking to get upfield.
Getting back to Brown’s speed, he ran a 4.51 at a Nike camp in Chicago, which was the fourth-fastest time at the event. He has deep speed, clearly, and can also take a short pass long distances. He’s not necessarily a long strider, which allows him to make sharper cuts.
When looking back on past Ohio State receivers who are around 6-1 or 6-0 and between 170-180 pounds who can do a little bit of everything in the passing game, the one name who keeps coming to mind is Philly Brown. Philly Brown was mostly a slot in Urban Meyer’s offense, but he was a guy who did a lot of stuff between the hashes, which is where Cameron Brown also excels. But there were also deep shots to Philly Brown, and there will eventually be deep shots to Cameron Brown. Both players head north after the catch and weren’t afraid of contact.
With slants and mesh routes being employed more in this Ohio State offense, Cameron Brown should find his surroundings pretty comfortable. He is a versatile receiver and isn’t just a one or two-route guy. His willingness to block will be a great asset as he gets stronger, and his desire to get yards after the catch fits perfectly with OSU’s extra effort “plus-two” mentality. The Buckeyes’ employment of the play-action will always benefit receivers, and Brown’s ability to get deep will be part of that.
The future is unknown at this point because we don’t yet know who will be returning next season. We know now that Trevon Grimes won’t return, but it will still be a couple of weeks or so before we know what Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, K.J. Hill, and Terry McLaurin are doing. All are eligible to leave early for the NFL Draft, and none of them have said anything definitive yet. While it is very unlikely that they all leave, it is also unlikely that everyone returns. That’s part of the reason why Ohio State brought in four receivers in the 2018 class. And even if they don’t leave early, they’ll be leaving after 2018, so you’ll need the next group of receivers to be ready to step in.
The receivers that we know will be returning — Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, Jaylen Harris, and Elijaah Gardiner — are different body types than Cameron Brown. They are all bigger receivers, where as Brown fits more into the mold of Dixon and McLaurin. If they leave, there will be a need to fill out the depth chart. Brown could certainly be part of that. If the bulk of the receivers return, however, it will be difficult for a true freshman to find as many snaps as he might like. But it will still be a great learning experience.
Cameron Brown Highlights
[Cameron Brown photo courtesy Scout.com]