No. 7: Noah Brown
Jersey No.: 80
High School: Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII
Rating:Four-star prospect in class of 2014
Career stats: Brown played in the "H" role last year and touched the ball twice on offense, running for a loss of 4 yards on his only carry in the Sugar Bowl and catching a single pass for 9 yards. He also had a kick return for 23 yards. In high school, Brown had 82 catches and 20 touchdowns over his final two seasons of action.
Playmaking skills: Excellent size, good speed, fine hands
What They’re Saying: If we'd have made this list before spring practice, odds are Brown wouldn't have been on this list.
But considering the spring he had, when he was named one of the breakout players of the 15 practices, we had to put Brown in the top 10. And considering head coach Urban Meyer said at the end of spring that Brown looks like a likely starter at wideout, the sophomore has to be considered a likely playmaker for the Buckeyes this fall.
“Noah Brown has probably had as good a spring as I could have wanted,” wide receivers coach Zach Smith said. “He’s dropped 25 pounds. He’s at a different level than he was at in the fall, so I am really, really pleased with where he is at. He’s come a long way and he’s still got a little bit of work to do, but he’s looking like a guy who is going to contribute heavily in the fall."
Buckeye fans saw a different Brown than a year ago. He arrived at Ohio State above 240 pounds, the result of too much bulking up during the offseason before he arrived in Columbus. That made him an excellent blocker -- you might have noticed him pinching down and laying out linebackers with his blocks during the season -- but he wasn't quite the kind of guy who was ready to have the ball in his hand.
Now slimmed down to closer to 220 pounds, he can do it all, he believes.
“I’m able to do a little bit of everything, really," he said. "I’m able to block if they need me to block. I’ve got some pretty good hands, route-running, stuff like that, and now that I’ve gotten quicker it’s made me more of a deep threat.”
Brown played in the slot last year but moved around among the outside spots this year, giving him versatility, too, which will come in handy as he tries to see the field at a position group that was praised as among the best at Ohio State this spring.
He also earned praise from the head coach as having the toughness and competitive level expected out of Ohio State's playmakers.
"Noah Brown is kind of solidified," Meyer said this spring. "If he takes care of a little more business in classroom, I was gonna announce him as one of the (starters)."
So it's clear Brown has a little bit of work to go. But with his spring, he's showed he can be the kind of guy who focuses on his weaknesses and gets better. if he keeps doing that, he'll be in the mix among the top playmakers at Ohio State.
"I made a decision me and the coaching staff towards the end of the season that it’s time to step up and really be able to make plays and change my body and get better as a wide receiver," he said. "I think the winter is really what started it and it’s transferred over in the spring with me being able to make more plays.”
No. 10: Parris Campbell
No. 9 Johnnie Dixon
No. 8 Nick Vannett