BOB STOOPS jumped out of the passenger seat of Mike Stoops’ car when he saw Brown walking across Union’s campus. Just days earlier, Brown had decided he would visit Florida the weekend before national signing day. The then-Oklahoma commit was frustrated that the Sooners continued to offer other cornerbacks, despite his own strong commitment.
When Stoops got word of Brown reconsidering his commitment, he, Mike and Cooks decided to make a trip to Tulsa to see Brown. Wearing an OU pullover and a pair of penny loafers that Prince will never forget, Stoops hopped out of Mike’s moving car and jogged over to Brown and his dad.
“Those damn penny loafers,” Prince said. “When he couldn’t wait for the car to stop and then came running over to see us in those shoes, I knew how bad they wanted Tre.”
Brown still went to Florida that weekend. He left Oklahoma fans on edge the following days, sending a couple one-word tweets the night before signing day: Business and Stressed.
But Prince said Stoops’ last-minute visit stayed in the back of Brown’s mind, ultimately leading to his final decision, which came early on the morning of national signing day — Feb. 1, 2017.
“Do I want to leave? Do I want to leave? Do I want to leave?” Brown told the Tulsa World on signing day. “I was like, ‘I know if I keep thinking like this, I don’t want to leave. I know this is home.’”
For Brown, it came down to being a simple a choice — it was clear that Oklahoma was where he wanted to be. He knew he wanted to be in Norman and knew he wanted to represent his city and state. He just had to make it official.
“For most Oklahoma kids, it’s more about that name on the front of their jersey and not the name on their back. They want to represent their town and where they come from,” said Dwayne Whittaker, one of Brown’s youth football coaches and still mentor to this day. “That meant more to Tre because he’s an Oklahoma kid. He grew up a Sooner. So he takes that ‘Sooners’ on his chest with pride.”
Brown’s freshman season started with him on the bench, sitting behind then-sophomore Parnell Motley and then-senior Jordan Thomas. He watched from the sidelines as then-senior quarterback Baker Mayfield led Oklahoma on what would eventually be a run to the College Football Playoff in 2017.
But before the Sooners could make that run, maybe the biggest game of the year — against Oklahoma State — stood in their way. And that was the first time Brown’s name was called.
Following an interception by Mayfield, with 2:58 remaining and OU up 55-52, Brown entered a game he always dreamed of as an Oklahoma kid: Bedlam.
“That’s a game he grew up watching,” Prince said. “I had feeling he would get in. But no one could have predicted what he did.”
Oklahoma State faced a 3rd-and-20 at its own 45 yard line with two minutes to go when Brown made the play of the game. The pass was tipped into the air, falling into the hands of Brown to seal the Sooners’ fate, until a 15-yard targeting penalty on then-senior Will Johnson took away Brown’s heroics and kept the Cowboys alive.
Four plays later, Brown helped stop OSU on fourth down, running stride-for-stride with his man — the intended target on the play. Brown would later catch another interception with 11 seconds left, but it also got called back, this time for defensive holding on Motley.
Despite both his game-winning interceptions being called back, Brown made a name for himself that day. And it couldn’t have come in a more perfect game.