It's funny how those around you actually notice your abilities before you do.

Just ask Cardinal O'Hara senior Corey Brown.

Brown, who has committed to play football at Ohio State, was implored by his friends to put his superb athleticism to use on the track.

Last year, as a junior, he was coming off an MCL tear suffered while playing football, so he figured why not use track to help him train for his senior season.

"They would talk about the track team," Brown said. "I didn't think I would do this much this early in it."

What he has done is made a name for himself as one the top sprinters in the area. Brown looks to have a storybook ending to his scholastic career at the PIAA Track and Field Championships today and tomorrow at Shippensburg University.

Brown says he has some unfinished business to deal with this weekend. He certainly has been gearing up for the moment. At the Catholic League championships, Brown had record-breaking performances in the 100 meters (10.65) and 200 meters (21.18). After helping O'Hara win a CL title in 2009, Brown and the Lions finished second behind La Salle this year.

Brown will run in the 200 and 4 x 400 relay this weekend.

"I'm definitely trying to win it in the 200," Brown said. "But if I lost the 200 and we won the 4 x 4, I'd be satisfied. Hopefully, I can get a couple state titles. This is our last meet, so we're trying to go out on a good note. I'm very excited for it. My whole team is excited for it. We're ready to go up there."

He says that his main competition will be Altoona's Brady Gehret, a Penn State signee and one of the top 400 runners in the nation.

Gehret and Brown faced off last year in the 200, finishing second (21.61 seconds) and third (21.69), respectively. Gehret anchored Altoona to the Class AAA title in the 4 x 4 (41.44), with O'Hara placing sixth (42.34).

When this weekend is over, Brown will set his sights on football in the Big Ten. The Daily News All-City performer and Catholic League MVP was recruited by almost 40 schools, including Rutgers, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Miami. He fell in love with the Ohio State campus after attending a game against USC in September.

"I went there for a visit and it was basically perfect," Brown said. "Going in for a receiver, it is probably the best school. Most of their receivers are older guys so it was perfect. I'm real excited. I'm not nervous at all."

Brown was a running back for O'Hara, but his build (6-foot, 170) and skills make him an ideal receiver in college. In the fall, he rushed for 1,135 yards and 11 touchdowns, and caught 30 passes for 474 yards and another 10 touchdowns. At the Under Armour All-American game, Brown proved his No. 20 ranking at receiver by ESPN/Scouts Inc. when he won the catching competition.

O'Hara head coach Danny Algeo said Brown has the tools to one day be mentioned in the same breath as past Buckeyes standouts like Chris Carter, Joey Galloway and Ted Ginn Jr.

"Obviously, it's a great program," Algeo said. "Most preseason polls have them ranked in the top three for next year. They have a lot of great receivers that have passed through there. He's a very versatile player. Everyone's big, fast and strong. It is a step up to the next level."

Brown will major in either mass communications or sports management. He says that he will not run track in college, but will continue with the training before leaving in June.

"Oh no," he exclaimed. "I'm done track after high school. I would never be able to go home and see my family if I ran track still."

Algeo says that Brown's ability on the football field and the track will make his transition easier.

"The kid is such a tremendous athlete," he said. "What he has accomplished in just 2 years of track, for Corey to have the times that he has, it is impressive. He's been a pleasure to coach. I know he is excited to get out there and get ready to roll."

With his track career coming to a close, don't think Brown has lost his competitive edge.

When asked about the state record in the 200, he replied, "20.86, and yeah I'm definitely going for it." *