The quarterback threatening to put up the biggest passing numbers in Pennsylvania high school history is not a five-star recruit.
He is not a towering figure with a cannon for an arm.
He isn't a four-year starter on his varsity team.
And if you're out looking for him on the fields of storied WPIAL programs Friday night, you won't find him.
The man you're looking for might reach 5 feet 10 when he puts on his cleats.
His name is Ron Brown. And he plays in the City League.
Predominantly using four-receiver sets, this University Prep junior completed 25 of 36 passes for seven touchdowns and 525 yards last week against Carrick, finishing about one drive short of the state record -- 594 yards, set by Brockway's Derek Buganza on a 33-of-45 night in 2009.
Brown threw for 468 yards against Shenandoah Valley the week prior, giving him the highest two-week passing total in Pennsylvania history, according to Post-Gazette data.
In his first three games this season Brown has thrown for 1,337 yards, completing 61 of 94 passes, 18 for touchdowns. That's 445.7 yards per game.
"All it is is taking advantage of what the defense gives us. That's all we do. It's not really rocket science," said LaRoi Johnson, University Prep's offensive coordinator. "In the City League, a lot of defenses aren't as developed as some of the other teams in other leagues, so we just take advantage of it. We throw to where they're not. It's that simple."
Brown throws an occasional home-run pass, but the majority of his yards come from short and intermediate-length passes that are turned into big gains by his receivers -- both through their own playmaking ability and the blocks they give each other.
Although Brown has been great, the key to his success is the talent around him: all four receivers and his running back are returning players, and defenses haven't been able to handle all five of them.
"That's why you're seeing the numbers," Johnson said. "Last year we were usually around 275, 250 [passing yards]. This year you're noticing the 400s because of the fact all four receivers and the running backs are so explosive.
"I could interchange them all. Your No. 1 corner versus my No. 2 or No. 3 receiver, I still think my No. 3 is going to win. You can't just double-team Marcus [Johnson] or Clay [Moorefield], you're going to be exposed somewhere on the field. ... At some point you're going to have a mismatch."
In addition to Johnson and Moorefield, Stephon Hawthorne, Abner Roberts and Noah Stewart add to the explosive receiving group. All have caught scoring passes this season.
And with the defenders spread out, Brown can make his read and hit his target with room to run.
"[Defenders] have to figure out what we're trying to do, but it really doesn't work," Brown said. "We beat it every time."
There's an aspect of redemption involved for Brown, who's in his first season at University Prep. Brown played for Westinghouse last year and had a game to forget against his current team.
"It's funny, looking at the DVD of last year's game," University Prep coach Lou Berry said. "We picked him off six times and two went back for touchdowns. [When he transferred] people from Westinghouse said, 'We're not going to miss him. We call him Pick Six anyway.' "
Brown's critics have been quieted this year, as he has just one interception so far but those 18 touchdown passes. Westinghouse coaches, though, say they miss Brown.
"We've always seen that potential," Westinghouse coach Monte Robinson said. "We worked with him since he was 8 years old. For us, at the end of the day, he grew up here and it's good to see any kid coming from our community do well, even if it's not for us."
The biggest difference for Brown from last year to this year is the linemen and receivers around him, as well as more personalized teaching.
As top receiver Marcus Johnson put it: "Coach Franchise [LaRoi Johnson] taught him up real good this summer."
Brown and Johnson watched film three days a week during the summer to study the mental aspect of the position. They watched various college and professional offenses and went over schemes, reads and defenses. Brown and his receivers lifted weights and threw passes starting two weeks after school let out ... and they ran.
"In practice, I kill him," Johnson said. "I'm talking about throwing-up, killing in practice."
Johnson called Brown the hardest worker on the team.
He's also the team's only true quarterback -- the backup is Marcus Johnson, Brown's 27 yard-per-reception wideout -- so when other players rotate out with backups, Brown takes reps again and again and again.
The district (WPIAL and City League schools) regular-season passing record is 2,754 yards, set by current Steelers backup Bruce Gradkowski when he played at Seton-La Salle. Gradkowski completed 173 of 298 passes in nine games in 2000.
University Prep only has eight regular-season games on its schedule, however.
Berry would like to develop his team's running game to become a more complete offense and take advantage of the space created by spreading out the defenders. But the monster passing games are still possible, and if they clean up some mistakes, LaRoi Johnson thinks even bigger games are possible.
"Even this [525-yard] game, in film our kids noticed [the mistakes]," Johnson said. "They were like, 'Coach, we should've had more than that.' And I'm like, 'I know.'"
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