COLUMBUS, Ohio - Corey Brown can be confusing at times. Nicknamed "Philly" by former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel to differentiate him from the OSU defensive back with the same name, the Buckeyes' wide receiver insists that he prefers to be referred to by his birth name. Yet while meeting with the media on Monday, Brown donned a grey t-shirt with his nickname printed across his chest.
"This is for the city. This is just for my city," the Philadelphia, Pa. native insisted. "The Eagles won, so I'm in a good mood."
Regardless of what he wants to be known as, the junior wide receiver has been making a name for himself this season.
Through the Buckeyes' first two games, Brown has emerged as the team's No. 1 receiver, hauling in 13 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown. After spending the offseason looking for players who would add a "wow factor" to his offense, first-year OSU coach Urban Meyer has found a player capable of providing such spark in Brown.
"He's right now, our best playmaker on offense," Meyer said after Brown's effort in the Buckeyes' win over Central Florida, in which he earned the team's offensive player of the game award.
But while Meyer is currently enamored with the 6-foot-1, 186-pound wideout, figuring out what he was going to get from Brown before the season started may have been more confusing than knowing what to call him.
Arriving at Ohio State in the fall of 2010 as a heralded running back recruit from Cardinal O'Hara high school, Brown knew he was too small to play the position he played in high school at the next level. He figured he'd be converted into a cornerback, but Tressel and his staff had other plans, placing Brown in the Buckeyes' wide receiver room.
Having never played wide receiver over the course of his high school career, Brown admitted that he wasn't initially thrilled by Tressel's decision.
"I was sad, I'm gonna be honest. I thought I was gonna be a corner or a running back, but I realized I was too skinny," Brown said. "It's a hard transition to make."
As a true freshman, Brown's unfamiliarity with his new position was apparent as he only recorded eight receptions for 105 yards and one touchdown. Save for a 54-yard touchdown reception in the Buckeyes' loss to Michigan, his sophomore season wasn't much more eventful, with the former Under Armour High School All-American hauling in 14 receptions for 205 yards and just the one touchdown catch.
The disappointment of the first two seasons of his college career brought Brown to a moment of truth this past offseason.
"Obviously my first two seasons here weren't really good," Brown said. "So, obviously you gotta think about it, take a long look in the mirror and say if this is what I want to do with the rest of my life, I've got to get going."
According to Meyer, the junior wide receiver did just that. And not only only on the field, where the OSU coach was confident enough in Brown to call him the team's No. 1 receiver at the end of fall camp, but in the classroom as well.
"He was always a competitor and I thought he had ability," Meyer said. "But this summer when he got a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA is when the corner was officially turned and I saw it in his attitude, his professionalism about academics, about his weight room, about the training. That's when it all changed. He didn't have that"
In just two games under Meyer, Brown's change in approach to football has been apparent. With 10 games remaining in the season, he's only one reception away from tying his career-high and nine away from doubling his career total entering this season.
And now that he's finding success at a position that he was hesitant to play, Brown doesn't mind being a wide receiver. Especially in Meyer's offense, which helped produce five NFL wide receivers during his time at Florida.
"It's God's gift, so I guess I just got to go a long with it," Brown said. "I'm a wide receiver now in this offense, so I'm not really complaining now."
Now if only we could settle on a name to refer to him as.