Speed, quickness and game changing ability are capital that Marquise Brown brings to a team. A difference maker that will be on display against Alabama tonight in the Orange Bowl in the CFP semifinal at 8:00 pm on ESPN.
To make the story line more interesting is just how Brown got to be in this game to begin with; no wait, to be on this earth at all. So lets take a closer look at one of the true game altering, Draft eligible players in college football.
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown 5’ 10” 170 lbs WR True Junior Oklahoma
Marquise Brown’s story begins where all our stories begin, at birth or more accurately at inception. Marquise’s mother, Shannon James found out she was pregnant from one doctor, and soon after another doctor told her she was in medical distress because her blood pressure was alarmingly high, the pregnancy was endangering her life.
Shannon Brown had a choice, lose the baby or endanger her own life. She chose to keep the babym which started a long ordeal for herself and her family. As quickly as Ms. Brown made that faithful decision she was ordered to stay in bed, which she did and most of the time it was in a hospital. She was not allowed to ingest normal food, and intravenous fluids were pumped into her body to keep her and her baby alive, for almost nine months.
Marquise Brown was born two weeks early and weighed 5 pounds and 6 ounces. “He came out, and he was a little guy,” James said. From that point on Marquise was always considered to be too small as compared to other kids. The only saving grace he had was the fact he was always faster than all the other kids. You can’t get bullied if they can’t catch you. The speed factor has severed Marquise well over the years.
On the other side of this story Shannon James health did not improve with the birth of her son. Soon after birth Ms James’ kidneys failed and she spent 5 years on dialysis, she also had a myriad of other health concerns. Marquise and his older sister (Shanice) had to live with their grandmother as their mom was in the hospital frequently. They both were at the hospital and had to endure a “Code Blue” and fortunately their mother’s resuscitation.
All along her travails Shannon James never lost her faith or the rue the decision she made, stating simply “He was my miracle baby,” James said.
Marquise grew up to love the game of football but even in peewee he was considered too small to play. His first coach would not play him because of injury concerns. When he finally got his chance he scored on his first play; no one could catch him.
Marquise put up great stats in high school but offers from division one schools did not come in because Marquise weighed only 130 lbs as a senior. He spent the season of 2015 at home with no team willing to give him even a tryout. Everyday he would go to the local park and set up cones, making himself work through an assortment of drills. His mom would see the determination in Marquise “He would still focus like he was on a team,” James said. “There was no stopping Marquise.”
Marquise had extended family in California and he went 3,000 miles away from home to visit some junior colleges in hopes of reviving his dreams. He was denied his chance many times then settled on the College of the Canyons; a juco school that had no scholarships. If he wanted to play he had to pay for it himself. “He never gave up,” James said. “He never took no for an answer.”
He would play 2016 at the College of the Canyons with his mother sending him money for rent and his sister would send him money also. He got a job at Six Flags and was the ride operator on the X2, a huge roller coaster. He didn’t have a car or money so he walked or biked to where ever he had to go.
In his first college game he scored a TD, and in his second he had three receiving TDs to go along with a kick off return for a TD. It didn’t take long before other schools took notice and when he was timed in the forty yard dash at 4.33 his offers started to pour in.
In his first season at Oklahoma it took him eight games to set the single game receiving record for the Sooners. Verses Oklahoma st (their arch rival no less) Marquise had 9 receptions for 265 yards and 2 TDs. He led the Sooners in receiving in 2017 despite starting only 8 games. In two years at Oklahoma Marquise had 132 receptions for 2,413 yards and 17 TDs. He was a first team All-American in 2018.
Marquise has tremendous speed, but he is not a one trick pony as a player. He will run an entire route tree (or as close as you can get in college) and is not afraid to catch in traffic.
This is the thing that happens when you give Marquise a free release.
When he starts from the slot like this and doesn’t have a safety over top of him, this is an easy read for any QB. Your only concern is if the QB can get the pass out fast enough and if he has enough arm to get it there. These will not be a problem for Sam Darnold.
We just signed Quincy Enunwa to a $36 million contract who is a fine, tough receiver in his own right. Lets see how a bubble screen works with a player of a different skill set.
Speed, quickness and the vision to find the crack in the defense are essential to making a big play. A player like Marquise makes this look easy when it is incredibly difficult to navigate through rows of defenders.
What about a hitch pass, another Enunwa favorite, how does Marquise do with that?
This was on third and 14, when the defense knew they were going to pass and had additional players in to defend the pass. Speed, elusiveness and quickness are deadly to a defense and it’s something the Jets need in their arsenal.
This is not a knock on Enunwa. It is just to show you how different they are as receivers. In fact Marquise would complement Enunwa quite nicely with Robby on the outside.
Did I mention speed? What happens if you double team Marquise like Iowa st did?
This is the type of play we have seen from Tyreek “the freak” Hill and will be looked for by every team in the NFL. To have the type of explosive plays that can be unleashed at any time is a weapon every OC will want at his disposal and only a few players possess the skill set to let loose this brand of carnage on a defense.
I mentioned speed and elusiveness, and I stated that Marquise will run a variety of plays. Here is a simple short drag route that is actually caught behind the line of scrimmage.
On this play Marquise takes a -2 yard pass, breaks a tackle and runs by a total of four players on his way to the end zone. This is speed, elusiveness and vision; Robby Anderson has speed. This is what you get when you have all three. Marquise is a threat no matter where he is on the field and is a player the Jets don’t have and need to get.
Other teams have players who can hurt you with one missed tackle and that is a huge advantage to have. Most games in the NFL are decided by a touchdown or less and to have the ability to run just a basic offensive play and have it go to the house is enormous.
This is a 50 yard TD that traveled across half the width of the field. The point of this is to show how important it is in today’s NFL to have a threat like this. Once Marquise is in the open field he is a threat to take any play to the house and once he gets behind the defense he will not be caught.
Here is another simple dig route, nothing fancy, nothing exceptional just the talent to make a big play out of it. Marquise has been compared to Desean Jackson which I think is a poor comparison. Jackson has raw speed but not the vision and elusiveness of Marquise.
Many people who don’t watch tape will say that Marquise is successful because Lincoln Riley has a great system and Marquise is a product of that system. Riley is an innovative offensive mind but you can see here that the plays aren’t that sophisticated and the players help the system. If you don’t have a defender ready to tackle Marquise once he catches the ball your defense is in peril.
This last clip is of a simple 10 yard comeback route to the sideline. Once he catches the ball watch the quickness and the change of direction ability. Marquise has elite skills and can change direction in an instant.
Marquise Brown is not a big physical receiver who is going to sit down over the middle to make a eight yard gain. He is not a Buick. He is a Ferrari 812 superfast who will be a receiver just like his cousin. Oh, did I mention his cousin is Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Quick Scouting Report...
Brown is a vertical deep threat with explosive traits to create space for himself while giving his QB separation from CBs and easy throws.
His speed is elite as well as his change of direction. He has superior vision and is a threat any time he is in the open field. He can get to top speed in a matter of a few steps and is impossible to cover one on on when he has a clean release.
His route running is excellent at times. He makes great cuts and accelerates out of breaks. He can get lazy and round off cuts but that can be fixed with coaching.
His hands are average and will drop the ball when open due to concentration issues. Again I don’t think that it’s a systemic problem and can be improved with coaching.
He is not good at contested catches and needs a open window to make his receptions.
He is elite in the open field but he doesn’t have the greatest tackle breaking prowess. He often goes down with an arm tackle. This might improve as he ages and gets a little stronger. He is surprising good against press coverage although he didn’t play against a lot of it in college. He is not a strong player and his ability against the press is due to his quickness and not his strength.
I have a mid first round pick on Brown as a prospect but if NFL GMs view him as a slot receiver only he will drop (foolishly) to the late 2nd round.
I am not usually fond of players named “Hollywood” but that nickname is actually a misnomer. Ms. James stated that Marquise was a simple kid, obedient, quiet and he never had problems. The name “Hollywood” comes from his hometown Hollywood Florida.
Actually Brown hasn’t even declared for the draft yet but given his families difficulties it would be hard for him to go back to school when he could help his family so much now.
Let’s see how he fares tonight against the vaunted Alabama defense. He is dealing with a foot injury he received in his last game but he stated “if I’m breathing I’m playing.”
Tell me what you think.