Coming off an injury, Marice Brown of Georgia wasn’t prepared for last year’s Future Stars Game. But, this year, the youngster took home the MVP.
Brown, the fierce defensive lineman, explained that in 2017 the kids were much bigger than him at the camp. In March things were different.
He was stronger, aggressive, executed the drills to perfection and came into the camp with confidence. Brown noted that if he felt a person was slipping, he would easily throw them to the ground.
“I was expecting to make the team, but I wasn’t expecting to make MVP,” Brown explained. “I knew last year at the Future Stars Camp wasn’t going to happen. Whenever there was an opportunity to get reps I was stepping in.”
Brown said he is looking forward to competing against the athletes from Florida in June at Florida Atlantic University. He will travel to Florida with some of his teammates and friends, including Carlos Cervantes and Milon Jones, where they will practice for three days and play the game on June 17.
“I’m just excited to experience the brotherhood again before it’s back over to high school football,” he said.
Brown, 14, of Marietta, Ga., is an eighth grader at Smitha Middle School, is 5’8, 250 pounds and played on the Osborne JR Cardinals.
To the surprise of most people, this dominant force on the gridiron only began playing tackle football in the sixth grade. From ages 5 to 7 he played pee wee football, soccer and basketball, but from ages 7 to 11, didn’t play any sports.
Coach Deno, whose son Carlos Cervantes, played on his team and is best friends with Brown, instilled him in the passion for the game and helped him grow as a player on and off the field. In fact, when he first began playing, he would tell Brown he wasn’t going hard enough.
“As far as Coach Deno, you should go 100 percent until somebody has to tell us to stop,” Brown said.
With his mother’s guidance, Deno’s assistance and being a student of the game, he feels football will take him far in life
“I’m very confident in myself,” Brown exclaimed. “I know 99 percent of the players aren’t working as hard as I am.”
but, when he turned 11, he saw that many of his friends were playing football, and peer pressure took over. He figured he would give it the college try and he quickly fell in love with the camaraderie and physicality of the sport.
Since he stepped on the gridiron, he has quickly become a force on the field. Defenders are scared to go up against him and quarterbacks fear and love him, he said.
“I like to oppose my will against the opposing team,” he said. “On the field I’m completely free.”
Brown explained that this past season he realized he had the potential to take football far in life. While those who had been playing it longer may have had more knowledge of the game, he had the skills, passion and drive to succeed.
According to Brown, there have been very few times where he has gotten beat on offense and on defense, he usually averages a few sacks a game.
The turning point in his football career was last summer. He was not only in the gym non-stop, but his defensive coordinator Mark Flannigan of his FBU team helped him understand how important the mental part of football is.
He noted that unfortunately, big guys like him often get a reputation for being lazy and not athletic. His goal was to show this isn’t always true.
“As a lineman, we tend to be categorized as unathletic fat guys,” he said. “I’ve done a good job at disproving that myth.”
Even though he is slowly becoming noticed on the field, he does not ever let himself become complacent. Always with his eye on the prize, he has attended numerus camps and plans to go to more this summer.
“The game of football to me is freedom,” he said. “I feel like I am part of a brotherhood who knows the grind.”
Looking back at his life, never in his wildest dreams imagined he would be playing football, let alone good at it.
He said he owes special gratitude to his mom Tynikia Richardson and his Coach Dale Deno. They each have contributed a lot to his success.
“My mom she has taught me hard work through example,” he commented. “Grind day in and day out even though you may not want to do it.”
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