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Tulsa Union standout Tre Brown excited about his future with the Sooners
There is no secret when it comes to determining Tre Brown’s No. 1 asset as an athlete. The young man can flat out run.
Speed has been his calling card from the first day he first slipped into a pair of cleats and shoulder pads, and began turning the heads of anyone who watched him glide across a football field.
Brown took his reputation as speed-burner to a whole new level this summer when he was officially clocked at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash. When the 5-foot-11, 178-pound cornerback posted his time on social media outlets, the ensuing responses ranged from disbelief to amazement.
Brown’s 4.37 was so impressive that it would have tied him with Houston’s William Jackson and Texas A&M’s Brandon Williams for sixth-fastest time at the most recent NFL Combine.
Going into the 2016 season, Brown is again poised to use his speed to help Tulsa Union contend for the Class 6A title. He is ranked as the Tulsa Metro’s top defensive back and is the 17th-ranked cornerback prospect in the country.
“That’s really the first thing that stands out — just how fast he is,” said Union coach Kirk Fridrich. “I watched Tre as a ninth grader and he was the fastest kid on the field. I think he still is. When you see him going at a different speed than everybody else, even on a field where there are a lot of talented people, you realize the potential is really high for him.”
While Brown showed flashes of what he could become during that freshman year, it wasn’t until his sophomore season that he really started to demonstrate his talents. He became a full-time starter in 2014 and one of his first games was against longtime rival Jenks.
In that game, Brown had two interceptions as he helped the Redskins knock off the Trojans in front of more than 18,000 fans. However, it was Jenks that rebounded to claim the 6A state championship by season’s end.
It has now been four years since the Redskins last won a state title, so Brown has yet to taste the thrill of hoisting up the gold ball at the end of the season. He wants that to change in his final season with Union.
“Honestly, the gold ball is the No. 1 thing we want to win,” said Brown. “That’s the only thing I’m focused on.”
Brown hopes to improve his team’s chances of ending the year on top by playing on both sides of the ball this fall. The Union coaches want to open up the offense by utilizing the speedster at wide receiver.
“We hope to get a lot from him,” said Fridrich. “We worked a lot with him at receiver in the spring so that he would understand our offense. We’ll try to use him as much on both sides of the ball as we can. We recognize what has held him back in the past is just his knowledge of how we do things offensively. So we’ve tried to get him caught up there.
“His hands have really developed. The more balls he has caught this spring, the better he has become at that position. We think he will be an asset on both sides of the ball.”
In his three seasons with the Redskins, Brown has not only improved his speed, but he’s also developed his overall game. He went from a player with potential to one of the nation’s best defensive backs as he prepares to enter his senior season.
“He is definitely very fast. Physically, he is gifted. He uses his speed in a lot of ways,” said Fridrich. “Tre is driven to try and be the best he can be. He is always trying to find a way to get better.”
According to Rivals.com, Brown is the 198th-ranked prep prospect overall going into the 2016 season.
“Adequate size corner who plays more physical than his measurables would indicate,” said one recruiting analyst.
“Flashes very good closing burst; actually better than his top end speed. Functionally, he is very strong and he knows how to utilize his solidly built frame. (He’s) a reactive athlete with great timing and anticipation.
“Often arrives with the football and will separate the ball from the receiver with a jarring blow if he does not under cut the pass. Understands leverage and how to work inside positioning. Very savvy football player.”
Brown says one of the reasons his overall game has flourished can be traced to the people he has listened to. And not just his coaches at Union, but the instructors at some of the football camps he has attending during the offseason.
“I felt like I learned a lot traveling to different camps, learning from people — people with a lot of experience who played my position and everything,” said Brown. “I felt like I’ve learned a lot and that’s help transition my game.”
In July, he will be heading to The Opening in Oregon. He will be one of eight Oklahoma commits from the 2017 class who will be on hand for the annual event.
Brown will be able to display his talents and compete against most of the nation’s top prep players. But he is already at a point where there is not much he needs to prove to anyone else.
“A ball of lightning. He has pure speed. He is a 10.51 100-meter dash guy and that shows his top end, but on tape he jumps out as a guy who is able to close in tight spaces equally as fast,” a recruiting analyst said of Brown.
“As a cornerback, it is great to see the first few plays on his highlight reel are big hits and sure tackles. He can not only get in and out of his breaks quickly, he is not afraid to get up in the mix and make a pop. A good blend of track speed and football instincts make for a prospect who justifiably receives a ton of college interest.”
Brown’s speed, strength and competitiveness have made him a highly sought-after recruit. He has offers from several of the top programs in college football, including Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee and Arizona State. He took an unofficial visit to Alabama in early June.
Despite the constant attention from recruiters, coaches and media, Fridrich says Brown has handled the recruiting process very well.
“I think he’s done a decent job with it, as much as can be expected,” said Fridrich. “There is a lot of attention that’s thrown on a player. For us, he has come through a really tough spring and worked really hard. He has done the best he can for his teammates here at Union.”
Brown may have been able to handle all of the hype and pressure that go hand-in-hand with recruiting because he has always known where he wanted to go. Since he was kid, Brown saw himself playing at Oklahoma, and that has not changed.
“It was my childhood school and I always grew up watching Oklahoma,” said Brown. “I always wanted to play for Bob Stoops. So when I got that opportunity, I took it without a doubt.”
According to Brown, OU was not the first school to offer him a scholarship. That came from Louisville.
“I actually went to a camp in Louisville and they offered me on the spot,” said Brown. “It felt pretty amazing knowing that I’d gotten my first scholarship offer. But I stayed humble and kept working and I got more.”
The Sooners were the 10th program to make him an offer, but coaches were the most persistent in showing him how much they wanted him on their squad. Brown committed to Oklahoma March 11.
“I took a visit to the school. I was talking to coach (Kerry) Cooks, he was telling me he had some good news to tell when I got there,” said Brown. “Oklahoma was patient with everything. They actually told me to come down. They offered me in person. So that was pretty much different than everything else. It was the coaches. I felt pretty amazing.”
(Editor's Note: This story appears in the 2016 Football Preview issue of Sooner Spectator. To read more or subscribe, call 405-364-4515)