Dominique Brown was committed to the University of Cincinnati when he starred at Cincinnati Winton Woods High School.
But that was before Charlie Strong was hired at the University of Louisville. Once Strong took the job, Brown was one of the players his staff targeted.
The Bearcats and Ohio State were the schools showing Brown, who was a star quarterback in high school, the most attention.
"Those two were recruiting me the hardest," Brown said. "I liked them and didn't have an offer from Louisville until coach Strong came."
So, the Bearcats were the option. He was committed to play for his hometown team and as Brown said sold on the idea of "being a hometown hero."
But Strong changed his mind. Brown came to U of L and has become one of the stars for the Cardinals. He was switched from quarterback to running back and is the leading rusher for the Cardinals this season.
Now, Brown will play against the Bearcats in the final regular season game. He'll have more than 50 family and friends in the stands on Thursday night at Nippert Stadium when the two teams tangle.
"The AAC couldn't have picked a better game for our final game," Brown said. "I'm excited but I know it's going to be cold. I know how the weather gets in Cincinnati around this time of the year."
Brown, who is one of six players on the U of L roster from Cincinnati-area high schools for the Cardinals, played in the game at Cincinnati two years ago.
But this time, Brown is one of U of L's top players.
He leads the Cardinals with 704 rushing yardage and seven rushing touchdowns, while also catching 21 passes for 200 yards and a TD.
"Cincinnati was the option for me," Brown said. "But I don't regret my decision at all. I've never looked back and love every minute at Louisville.
"It's been so much fun here with coach Strong."
Brown has come on in the latter part of this season with both of his 100-plus yard games in the final four games. He had 125 yards against South Florida and added 137 yards against Houston.
Against the Bearcats, Brown just wants to "do my job." He said his high school offensive line will be among those watching.
"A lot of people I grew up with will be there," he said. "It's a homecoming for me, playing in front of family and friends. But I can't get caught up into going home to play or who might be there watching me play that I know.
"I just need to keep doing what I have been doing. Coach (Kenny) carter told me to ‘Keep the edge and stay humble,' and that's what I want to do."