“Hollywood” Marquise Brown a rising star for No. 5 Oklahoma
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — When folks give you the nickname “Hollywood,” you’re probably doing something right.
Oklahoma receiver Marquise Brown is doing an awful lot right these days. The sophomore from Hollywood, Florida, burned Oklahoma State for a school-record 265 yards receiving in a 62-52 win last Saturday that vaulted the Sooners to No. 5 in the latest AP poll .
Brown’s teammates have taken to the nickname.
“We all cut up and joked about it, but I think it’ll be something that sticks with him,” Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “I think he likes it. We’ll roll with it. As long as he’s catching passes and running like that, I don’t care.”
Brown, a junior college transfer, now leads the team with 743 yards receiving, slightly ahead of tight end Mark Andrews. The Sooners hope he’s got something left for Saturday’s showdown with No. 8 TCU for the Big 12 lead. Both teams are 8-1 overall and 5-1 in league play. The Sooners are also fifth in the playoff rankings, and TCU is eighth.
Brown is generously listed at 5-foot-11 and 162 pounds. When Riley was asked about Brown’s weight on Monday, he joked that Brown “weighs about half of how many yards he had the other day.”
The recognition is starting to come. Brown was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after Saturday’s effort and has been added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, which honors the nation’s top receiver. The Sooners started the season unsure of who would replace Biletnikoff winner Dede Westbrook as the team’s primary deep threat. Now, there’s no doubt. Westbrook was clocked at Oklahoma’s pro day at 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Mayfield said Brown might be a step faster.
“It’s a complete difference maker,” Mayfield said. “I think we saw somewhat with what Dede could do last year with that speed that he had, but I think Marquise is even faster. I love Dede, but Marquise, he’s got another gear. For teams to have to game plan on that — it’s tricky, because you can’t really leave him on an island because he’s going to outrun you.”
Brown had his moments this season before the breakout performance against Oklahoma State. He caught six passes for 155 yards against Tulane, including an 87-yard touchdown. He caught six passes for 126 yards against Kansas State.
He took it to a new level against Oklahoma State with touchdown catches of 84 and 77 yards among his nine receptions.
“I think he’s just gotten more comfortable,” coach Lincoln Riley said. “We’ve gotten more comfortable with him. He’s able to play more reps. And he’s making more plays as the reps go up. He’s done a great job.”
The comparisons to Westbrook are coming because of speed and production. It was Westbrook’s single-game school yardage record that Brown topped last week.
“Dede’s a little bit bigger, a little taller,” Riley said. “But the way they play, the way they attack the ball and are able to keep speed up while still catching the ball and some of the things they do route-wise are very similar.”
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .