Until last year, Gateway High (Monroeville, PA) standout Corey Brown fancied himself as more of an offensive player. When his team needed his athleticism elsewhere, he realized that his talents may actually be better suited for defense.
“At the end of my sophomore season I started playing a little more corner because we needed one,” Brown recalled. “I played cornerback all this year and (the transition) wasn’t that bad. I excelled at cornerback. I had something like five interceptions and 54 tackles.”
Other players that made similar moves have reported an increased understanding of how to play their new position based on their prior experience on the other side of the ball. That was definitely the case for Brown.
“That’s like the biggest thing that helped me out when I switched,” he said. “Because I always was a receiver, when I was at corner, I knew what receivers wanted to do... and vice versa. When I was at receiver I knew what the corner wanted to do.”
That excellent display of versatility has commanded the attention of college programs from all across the country. Brown believes he could be successful on either side of the ball at the next level, but thus far, coaches seem to be more intrigued by his long term potential on just one of them.
“When they see me on offense they probably say he runs routes good and he has really good hands, and on defense they probably say he can cover,” Brown replied when asked to give a personal scouting report. “They say he can even come up and lay the wood sometimes (laughing). They’re asking me if I have a preference for which position I want to play and I tell them no. Most of them say they like me as a corner because I’m 6-1, 188, and I run a 4.5. I’m big and I can cover good.”
It’s clear that many programs believe that evaluation, as evidenced by the 24 offers Brown already has to his credit. Michigan was the most recent school to jump into the fray and it was a development the youngster had been anxiously anticipating.
“Michigan first started showing interest in me when Lloyd Carr was there, and Tony Gibson was recruiting me for West Virginia,” Brown recalled. “(Coach Gibson) is a cool coach. We went down to West Virginia last year and he was our tour guide. He’s just really cool. I like him a lot. He went to Michigan and offered me. I’ve been looking at Michigan since way back… going back to Charles Woodson. Plus Ty Law is my cousin’s uncle.”
While it’s clear the Wolverines have a few factors in their favor, no program has more then the University of Pittsburgh. Two of Brown’s high profile teammates (Shayne Hale and Cammeron Saddler) committed to the Panthers in 2008, and the hometown program is working hard to keep the pipeline going.
“(Shayne and Cammeron) try to tell me that I need to come down there all of the time and that I need to commit and all of that stuff, but I’m not paying attention to that,” said Brown. “I really want to look around for myself. I don’t think them being there is a big factor at all. I don’t have a favorite and I don’t have a top list right now. I don’t have nothing.”
Brown will work toward developing a list of favorites in the coming months and campus visits will play a very large role in determining which programs make the cut.
“We’ve already started going to junior days and all of that stuff,” he said. “We’ll probably go up to Michigan’s junior day. Me and Dorian Bell (whom Michigan has also offered) will probably go up at the same time.”
“Distance is not going to be that big of a thing,” Brown continued
regarding the criteria for his final choice. Early playing time and academics
are going to be the biggest factors. I think I want to wait until the U.S. Army
game to announce.”