MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. — When Marquise Brown walked up to his first practice with the Dania Bears around age 9, Quincy Bullard didn’t know what to think.
“This kid is small, like a little kid,” the coach remembers thinking. “Wow. But the speed and the work ethic was crazy. This little guy got all this energy. He was outworking 90 percent of these bigger kids that were on the team.
“As a 9-year-old, 10-year-old kid, I’d never seen speed like that before in my life.”
Brown has been the focus of the Sooners’ lead-up to Saturday’s Orange Bowl against No. 1-ranked Alabama (7 p.m., ESPN), both for the questions about his status following a foot injury in the Big 12 Championship Game and his being the only Oklahoma regular from South Florida.
On the first subject, Brown recently returned to practice, and said he’s still not 100 percent as he works back from the injury but that he “anticipated” playing.
“Trying my best to be out there,” Brown said.
Brown now wears the “Hollywood” nickname proudly, not for the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown but for the beachside community tucked right between Miami and Fort Lauderdale where Brown grew up. But it’s not just Hollywood that claims Brown. His dad is from Fort Lauderdale and Brown spent plenty of time there as well.
“The city is on fire,” Calvin Jackson, another of Brown’s youth coaches, said. “That’s the talk of the town right now … you can’t go one corner without anybody talking about it.
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