AMELIA ISLAND -- Even though Marvin Bracy's duties were split between two sports, the now former Florida State student-athlete had a chance to be "very good" at one of them, his ex-football coach said this week.
"He could have been a very good football player," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said at the ACC spring meetings, held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel here. "Marvin's a guy who did very well on our scout teams and played well. He was getting covered by some great guys everyday and he ran right by them."¿
He'll no longer be running by safeties and cornerbacks. The only people Bracy now wants to try to out-race are those who sprint alongside him in 60-, 100- and 200-meter races.
As the Orlando Sentinel's Chris Hays reported Saturday night, Bracy has signed a pro contract with Adidas, officially ending his collegiate career.
It was a career that ended not long after it started.
Just a freshman at FSU this past school year, Bracy was forced into redshirting on the football team after a preseason hamstring injury slowed his growth and development in the program. Once football season ended, he transitioned quickly to FSU's men's track team, where he began competing ... and winning.
At one point, his 6.54-second indoor 60-meter time was the fastest in the nation.
Then came April, and an apparent tweak to the same hamstring that had given him problems before.
Bracy pulled himself out of track competition. He avoided spring football practices, too. Four weeks later, as the spring semester concluded, he was effectively done at FSU. Reports began circulating that as he headed back home to Orlando, he had turned his back and wasn't looking over his shoulder.
Fisher, who met with Bracy just after the spring football practice season, wished he had more time to talk to his rookie receiver before he left the school.
"It's very important that you do that research to make that decision," Fisher said. "¿I'm hoping that he did. I'm not going to say that he did or he didn't; I'm not privy to that. But I didn't get it with him."
Fisher said he had his standard post-spring exit meeting with Bracy. Each year, after the spring game, he has the conversations with all of his players.¿ When Bracy came in, they touched on the receiver's future, but there was no definitive answer with respect to the direction it appeared he was headed.
"He wasn't real clear on that at the time when he did it with me. He was talking more in generalities," Fisher said. "He was, 'I just want to run track, and I just want to do this.' And he was worried about the injuries," Fisher said. "He's very polite, we had great conversations with it, he was more undecided about what he wanted to do.
"I was like, 'Just think about it. If you're going to go pro track or whatever your scenario is, is it what's best for you? Are you going to maximize the money you can make or the opportunity for your life or what's your education down the road and what's the big picture of what's going on?' I hope he's done that."
Bracy told the Sentinel his mother and his longtime personal track coach, former FSU athlete Ricky Argro, were among those he has since consulted about the decision to leave.
"One day I’d be like, 'I gotta get out of here,' and then the next day I’d be like, 'Man I’m going to stay,'" Bracy said. "I just kept going back and forth."
Fisher wished the situation would have gone more smoothly, in part, because he has a track record of working with football players who also ran track. As an assistant at LSU he helped coach former two-sport athletes Trindon Holliday, Bennie Brazell and Xavier Carter. Holliday and Brazell were NFL Draft selections. Carter signed a lucrative track sponsorship out of school.
"I've had great history," Fisher said of the two-sport athletes.
At this point, all the coach can do is hope Bracy's decision will lead him to a place of personal comfort. Asked if he believed Bracy's problem was that he felt uncomfortable at FSU, Fisher shrugged his shoulders.
"There's so many scenarios that we all can speculate on or think we know the answer to, but it's hard to judge. You've got to put yourself in their shoes," Fisher said. "Hopefully the key is that they can put themselves around people they can trust that can get the right information to them."