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Is Marvin Bracy a football player with world-class speed or a track star with blue-chip talent on the gridiron? It could be a while before we know which sport winds up first on the resume for Bracy, an 18-year-old Florida State-bound wide receiver who doubles as the fastest sprinter in the country.
A two-time state champion in both the 100 and 200, Bracy is expected to compete in the 100 at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in June. Last year, he had the nation's best times in the 55 (indoor) and 100 (outdoor), and in the first race he ran this season, he set a national prep record in the 55 with a 6.08.
Bracy is often compared to Jeff Demps, another sprinter from the Sunshine State who went on to run track and play running back at the University of Florida. While their builds and styles are different, their blazing speed and precocious, two-sport prowess is practically identical. Demps set a national junior record (10.01) in the 100 at Trials as a high school senior in 2008. Bracy hopes to break that record this year -- perhaps at Trials, where he's likely to go up against none other than Demps.
But while Demps skipped playing football this fall to focus on his track career, Bracy isn't ready to abandon his gridiron dreams, saying he's a football player first and foremost.
"Track is my second-favorite sport," he says. "It's [taken] me to places I've never been, but I consider myself a football player at heart." He proved as much with a spectacular one-handed reception at January's nationally televised Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The catch landed him on SportsCenter's Top Plays, a feat he hasn't accomplished on the track -- not yet, anyway.