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Oct. 20, 2012

Difference Maker (Corey Brown)

By Ryan Zimmerman, Athletics Communications

What a difference a year makes.

One year removed from an underwhelming 14-catch season, junior Corey ‘Philly’ Brown has emerged as one of the Big Ten’s best wideouts and the Buckeyes’ top overall receiving threat. Through seven games Brown has totaled an impressive 41 receptions for 403 yards in helping Ohio State to a 7-0 record.

His many improvements – vision, route running and cutting, among others – have been noticeable on a week-by-week basis, but the breakout performance of his OSU career came in a 17-16 victory over Michigan State Sept. 29. Wreaking havoc on the Spartan defense with well-executed and intermediate routes and screen passes, Brown recorded a 12-catch, 85-yard effort in Spartan Stadium. When asked what has led to his enhanced play and expanding statistics, Brown was quick to credit the Buckeyes’ new offensive scheme.

“It’s all in the system,” Brown said. “We have a receiver-friendly offense and all of the wideouts have improved individually and collectively as a group. Braxton [Miller] is also playing better, the offensive line is starting to gel and Devin [Smith] is taking a lot of pressure off of me with his play, so it’s really been a perfect mix.”

It’s easy to see why Brown views the new offense as “receiver-friendly.” One of the unique characteristics of Coach Urban Meyer’s spread attack is the hybrid wide receiver-running back position designed to create plays in space and made famous by former Florida star Percy Harvin. With his much-ballyhooed speed and growing confidence, Brown has become the primary option in that role this season.

“I love playing the hybrid,” Brown said with a smile. “It creates so many opportunities to make plays. I especially like being able to motion into the backfield and run the option with Braxton. And when you had a downhill runner like Carlos [Hyde] into the mix, it makes it hard to key on my position, which is exciting.”

Prior to his offensive breakout this season, Brown, a native of Upper Darby, Pa., was more widely known in the Ohio State community for his name, which he shares with junior defensive back Corey ‘Pittsburgh’ Brown, a native of Monroeville, Pa. The players’ identification by hometown quickly became popular with fans and teammates, and was originated by former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel.

As he continues to improve his game and make crucial plays for the Buckeyes, Brown is determined to become known for his playmaking abilities rather than his now infamous nickname.

“I hope fans see me as a player who makes things happen and gives one-hundred percent every play,” he said. “I want to be known as a difference maker.”