TEMPE, Ariz. — On Nov. 23, 2018, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen walked into the postgame media room. He took a fast drink of bottled water and made a quick assertion on the Mountaineers’ 59-56 loss to Oklahoma. In a foul temper, Holgorsen then stated he’d take a number of “sensible” questions.

The first needed to do with Oklahoma’s passing sport, which had torched West Virginia for 364 yards. Holgorsen shook his head, looking for the appropriate phrases. “Yeah, I’ve never … I mean … I don’t …” The coach settled on this, referring to 2 Sooners by jersey quantity:

“One and five are the quickest kids I’ve ever seen — ever,” Holgorsen stated. “They’re special players.”

In 2018, quarterback Kyler Murray (No. 1) and receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (No. 5) had been faculty soccer’s most explosive combo. Murray gained the Heisman Trophy. Brown captured All-America honors. The shut buddies, diminutive in stature, assured by nature, turned first-round NFL Draft picks, Murray by the Arizona Cardinals at No. 1, Brown by the Baltimore Ravens at No. 25. This season, they’re reunited.

In April, Arizona acquired Brown in a commerce with Baltimore, giving the Cardinals one of many league’s prime burners and persevering with a passing-game development of types. In Cincinnati, Joe Burrow and former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase excel with chemistry constructed throughout their faculty days. In Miami, the Dolphins have paired former Alabama stars Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle. In Las Vegas, the Raiders have performed the identical with former Fresno State stars Derek Carr and Davante Adams.

Arizona’s Murray-Brown mixture may very well be explosive. To perceive, all you must do is look again at their breathtaking accomplishments at Oklahoma. They had been an enormous play ready to occur. “No question,” former Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley stated. “They were dynamite together.”

Brown and Murray powered an electrical Lincoln Riley offense at Oklahoma. (Kevin Jairaj / USA Today)

First impressions could be deceiving. Such is the case with Brown. In the winter of 2016, he arrived for his first day at College of the Canyons, a junior faculty in Santa Clarita, Calif.

Coach Ted Iacenda knew the 5-foot-9 Brown may fly — he had seen his highschool movie — however he nonetheless was stunned when Brown walked into his workplace contemporary off his travels from Hollywood, Fla. “He was tiny,” stated Iacenda, who admitted to questioning how Brown would maintain up bodily. “I think he was probably like 135 pounds.”

Once Brown hit the sphere, nonetheless, these considerations didn’t final. He became one of many nation’s prime junior-college receivers.

The identical script unfolded at Oklahoma.

“First of all, he looked like he was 16 or 17,” stated former Oklahoma receiver Mykel Jones, who was listed in 2017 as the identical peak as Brown however 24 kilos heavier at 186.

“He was dealing with some nagging foot issues,” former graduate assistant Brian Lepak stated. “I’ll be honest. I thought, ‘Huh, being a thinner guy, the foot issues, is that going to all come together?’”

But nobody was fooled. They all understood why Brown was there.  It was only a matter of how the pace would translate to the Big 12. And Brown settled that shortly throughout offseason exercises.

“The best way I can describe it is you knew it wasn’t something you see every day,” former receiver Nick Basquine stated.

“In the summertime, we really get to see what guys are made of,” Jones stated. “It’s different when the pads come on, a completely different game, but at least (in the summer) you get an idea of what guys bring to the table. And when he first came in, we’re doing 7-on-7 and he’s just exploding and running past guys. I’m talking about release and just go.”

There was debate over who was quicker: the 5-10 Murray or Brown. Murray, maybe not so critically, advised reporters that he had the sting. From reminiscence, Jerry Schmidt, the varsity’s director of sports activities enhancement and energy and conditioning, stated Brown’s 40 time was within the low 4.3s, whereas Murray was round 4.39. “Kyler would say that he’s the fastest, but Marquise knew,” Schmidt stated. “And everybody knew that Marquise was the quickest so he’d kind of give you that smile. But both those guys were impressive.”

Brown first paired up with Baker Mayfield, the 2017 Heisman winner. After a gradual begin, he completed with 57 catches for a team-best 1,095 yards and 7 touchdowns because the Sooners superior to the College Football Playoff. In 2018, Murray took over, and Brown was even higher. The chemistry was clear.

“Those in-game moments bring guys closer, just seeing what guys are capable of when you really get down into the trenches,” Jones stated. “That’s probably where they gained the most respect for one another. And from there, they just kind of took off. Bomb after bomb.”

Of Brown’s 10 touchdowns that season, six went for greater than 50 yards. His 11 receptions of 40-plus yards tied for the nation’s lead. (Interestingly, 4 of the gamers ranked within the prime 10 of 40-yard catches that season are on the Cardinals roster.)

“Obviously, Marquise had world-class speed, but he really tracks the ball at an elite level,” Riley stated. “Running past people is one thing but being able to track a ball that’s ripping down the field 60 yards and catching it over an outside shoulder is difficult, and he can make it look easy.”

FBS 40-yard catch leaders, 2018 (Current Cardinals in purple)

Player School 40-yard catches

Marquise Brown



Andy Isabella



Hakeem Butler

Iowa State


Jerry Jeudy



Justyn Ross



John Ursua



Tylan Wallace

Okla State


Antoine Wesley

Texas Tech


Rondale Moore



Damion Willis



In Arizona, the reunion has gotten off to a shaky begin. After signing a $230 million extension that made him one of many league’s highest-paid quarterbacks, Murray had to defend himself over a contract addendum that mandated at the very least 4 hours of “independent study” throughout sport weeks.

“Not one time in all the years I had him was I ever one bit concerned about the preparation that he put in,” Riley advised The Athletic. “And we’ve stayed in touch quite a bit. I’m not there every day, but I feel like I have a pretty good feel of the preparation he’s putting in. I saw that he came out and said some of the things that he did, which is not normally what he would do. I’m glad he did it. He had the right to defend himself.”

The Cardinals eliminated the addendum.

On Aug. 1, coach Kliff Kingsbury introduced Murray had examined constructive for COVID-19, which took the quarterback off the observe area. Two days later, Brown, who had missed the beginning of coaching camp with a hamstring situation, was arrested and charged with prison dashing. He reportedly was driving 126 mph on State Route 101.

During a current media session, Brown didn’t clarify why he was driving at such speeds however acknowledged his actions had been disappointing. “I got a lot of kids that look up to me, so I want to set the right example at all times,” he stated.

On Aug. 15, the previous Oklahoma standouts lastly practiced collectively. To receiver Greg Dortch, their chemistry was laborious to overlook, two buddies taking part in on the highest stage however making it look like a child’s sport. Just like previous occasions.

“Obviously, you still got to work on it,” Murray advised reporters. “This is the NFL. What we did is in the past. But it’s just a natural connection. … The first practice, seeing him out there was kind of weird.”

“I know him, he knows me,” Brown stated. “He knows what I like. I know what he likes. It’s just something we got.”

In three seasons with Baltimore, Brown caught 195 passes for two,361 yards and 21 touchdowns. He’s coming off his greatest season, however he requested a commerce as a result of he needs to do extra. Alongside Murray, that’s the plan in Arizona. And with star receiver DeAndre Hopkins sidelined for the season’s first six video games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug coverage, Brown possible will get his probability.

“He’s still learning our system, but he’s got a good feel for football,” Kingsbury stated. “The things that we’re asking him to do are a little different than what he’s done the last few years, but he’s picked it up, and I think over the next three weeks with Kyler, getting all those reps, it’s going to be good for their rapport. By Week 1, he’ll be rolling.”

(Top photograph: Tommy Gilligan / USA Today)

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