After coming out of Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna with a 2.5 GPA (hurt by a 1.5 mark his freshman year), and no scholarship offers, Marquise Brown is now a hot commodity as a freshman receiver at College of the Canyons in Valencia, Calif.
"Coaches up here got in contact with me, and I built a very good relationship with the wide receiver coach David Banks," Brown said. "I felt very comfortable with him, and me and my mom thought It was the best decision to come out here."
That last one -- extended by inside receivers coach Jacob Peeler -- meant quite a bit for Brown, who grew up idolizing DeSean Jackson. He has the speed -- a 4.33 electronically-timed 40 and ran a 10.61 100-meters as a senior in high school -- and, he said, "Everyone is really in love with my speed, and what I can do after the catch." However, he said, he's his own man.
"I got some traits of his but I have my own unique style of play," Brown said. "[I've improved] my speed and strength since I been here, I became a very good blocker and route runner."
Brown, who started talking with the Bears two weeks ago, has been a Jackson fan for more than a decade. The Hollywood, Fla., native has family in Long Beach, Calif., Jackson's home.
"I came up here when I was young and got to watch him play at a Poly game and just followed him through his career," he said.
This season, Brown has 20 catches and 393 yards with six touchdowns, and, despite that first-year flub in high school, he was a full qualifier.
"My grades have always been good, [but I] put myself in a bad situation my freshman year of high school, finishing with a 1.5 GPA," Brown said. "But through hard work I was able to get all the way up to the 2.6, and now I just know what I need to do to keep my grades up."
So far, he has all A's and just one B at CoC, and is a candidate for early graduation. He'd be eligible to transfer after his freshman season, and would have four years to play three at the college of his choice. The son of a hairdresser mother, he'd be the first in his household to attend a four-year university, though he has cousins who have been to college.
He has one visit set up to Washington State on Nov. 25, but has already started talking to the Bears about setting up a visit to Jackson's old stomping grounds. He plans to study business.
"They really like my speed and [Peeler] said I'm exactly what they have been looking for in a wide receiver," Brown said of Cal.