One of the highlights of this week's senior high portion of the Houston Nutt Football Camp occurred on the opening night as the players were timed in 40-yard dashes alone and against a competitor.
By himself, Marianna's Marcus Brown (6-1, 180) blazed to a 4.26 time, something that will no doubt continue to increase the buzz around the outstanding athlete who plays quarterback in high school, but who will end up either at wideout or the defensive backfield in college.
But Arkansas commitment Darren McFadden, a 6-2, 220-pound running back from Pulaski Oak Grove, accepted that challenge and nipped Brown with a 4.33 when the two ran together later Sunday night.
"Everybody was telling me the dude was pretty fast, but I told them I run faster when it's a race and there is something for me to win," McFadden said. "He's pretty fast, but I got him at the end."
The best news for the Razorbacks is that they likely could sign both of them when national signing date rolls around in Feburay if they choose to do so.
That's because Brown makes no secret how interested he is in joining the Razorbacks.
"I am so high on Arkansas," Brown said. "It would be a lifetime dream if I got to play here. I would be living the dream."
It has always been a dream to play at Arkansas even though this is his first visit to Fayetteville.
"It is real nice, the facilities are great and the coaches are just a joy to be around," said Brown, who had seven interceptions and 63 tackles last season.
Certainly Brown, who will leap headlong and with a bullet into the The Morning News Top 30 college prospects when it is released post camp, is the epitome of a hidden gem.
He's the first to admit that.
"Nobody knew who I was until we got a new coaching staff," Brown said. "Our new coach came down here and gave some colleges my name, showed them what I can do (on film) and helped me out a lot. Before he came, nobody knew who Marcus Brown was."
The mail started pouring in to Brown's house and school.
"I got letters from up here in Fayetteville, from Auburn, Ole Miss and a couple from Nebraska," Brown said. "I also got offers from Arkansas State and UAM."
Of course when word gets out he ran a 4.26, everybody will know who Marcus Brown is and the postman will likely be even busier.
"That's the fastest I have ever been timed in," Brown said. "It was shocking to me. I knew I was running fast, but I did know it was the fast. When I heard what they said, it was hard to beleive, but it is hard to deny because it was on the stop watch."
Part of the reason Brown was laboring in anonymity was because his team got off to an 0-7 start last season, but won its last three games when he was moved to quarterback and began to run wild.
He had already rushed for over 900 yards as a running back before the switch.
"It seemed like that move gave the line a little bit more enthusiasm," Brown said. "We won the last three and that helped our mindset out a lot. Now that I am going to be at quarterback for the whole year we are all excited about having a good season. It was mostly juniors playing last season so we are going to have a lot of seniors this year."
He thinks this camp will help him become the leader he needs to be next season.
"I am trying to learn to become more of a leader and I think a camp like this helps me do that," Brown said. "I want to get a little bit more push, concentrate on getting better and learning things I don't know."
Brown, who plays corner and safety and even some outside linebacker on defense for Marianna, has spent time with the wideouts and defensive backs in camp.
"My position in college is just best described as yet to be determined," Brown said. "I just want to be a playmaker wherever I end up."
o o o
McFadden, one of the nation's top 100 players, says life has been good since he committed to the Razorbacks back on April 5.
"It's made things just so much more relaxing for me," McFadden said. "There was never any doubt where I wanted to go and there was no reason to wait. They have already made me feel like one of the family."
McFadden, who rushed for over 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns last season and added 9 catches for 283 yards and another four scores, is going through the camp on a limited basis to keep from injurying himself.
"I am just hanging out with the coaches, picking up a few pointers and watching the other players," McFadden said. "I jump in there every once in a while."
McFadden, who has been timed as low as 4.37, put up a 4.38 during a combine in Atlanta last month where his performance kept his stock soaring.
"There was some great talent down there and it was great to be around that and perform so well," McFadden said. "It's just made me feel that much more confident in myself."
Brown, McFadden have the fleetest feet
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