Pharaoh Brown was shocked back in May when Oregon extended him a scholarship. As a four-star prospect and one of the better defensive ends in the country, the offer from the Ducks wasn’t the surprise – it was that the offer was for tight end.
“In May when I committed [to Michigan], Oregon wanted me as a tight end strictly, but I never played it before,” said Brown, who decommitted from Michigan. “I was like ‘OK but I’m a defensive end.’”
Fast forward nearly eight months, Brown (Lyndhurst, Ohio/Brush) rewarded Oregon for having faith in him as a tight end. At the Offense-Defense Bowl on Thursday, Brown became the the Ducks’ 18th commitment in the 2012 class and second tight end along with fellow four-star prospect Evan Baylis (Aurora, Colo./Grandview).
Brown and Michigan went their separate ways in November after Brown officially visited Oregon – his only official visit. Brown, ranked 14th among tight ends, committed to Michigan as a defensive end but started having a change of heart after a few games a tight end.
“At first, kind of but then it was pretty easy once I got my route running down,” Brown said. “It was a quick transition because from playing quarterback I could read the coverages in my routes. Me being a quarterback, I know what to look for.”
After a successful senior season at tight end, Brown began to only look at schools looking at him as a tight end. His other finalists were Michigan State and Nebraska, which gave him a choice of either offense or defense.
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Brown is a prospect with a lot of upside at either tight end or defensive end if he eventually has to move to the defensive side of the ball at Oregon. He was a quarterback in high school before moving to defensive end as a junior.
When Brown moved to defensive end as a junior, it was his first time playing defensive line since pee wee football when he played only because he was too big for other positions. Much like his first season at tight end, Brown was an instant success at defensive end.
“It was a smooth transition as once I learned the swim move that was all I needed,” Brown said. “I just got it down from playing basketball and natural movement I have. I switched only a couple weeks before the season started so I didn’t have a lot of time to get down technique.”
With Brown’s commitment, the Ducks have built a miniature pipeline into Ohio. The Ducks’ second-best recruit in their 2012 class is Dwayne Stanford II, a junior from Cincinnati. Lyndhurst, Ohio, where Brown is from, is closer to Cleveland. The Ducks don’t have any players from Ohio on their roster.