The departure of Nebraska and, to a lesser extent, Colorado has left the Big 12 North ripe for the picking. For Kansas State however, the migration of those two universities simply means two fewer rivals to worry about on the 2011 landscape.
Though this upcoming season looks to be a project of sorts for Bill Snyder’s bunch, fans have been given two noteworthy packages with which to be excited- Arthur and Bryce Brown. The former Wichita East High products have been shipped to Manhattan via Miami and Tennessee, respectively, in time for the debut of the revamped Big 12 campaign. Each has potential to deliver All-Conference seasons from opposite sides of the ball.
Arthur Brown, a top overall recruit at linebacker by any measure just three years ago, looks to jump start his career with Kansas State after watching Sean Spence, the “other” linebacker Miami recruited in his class earn ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2008 and a Second Team All-ACC selection with the Hurricanes this past season. Meanwhile, Arthur was merely a special teams contributor- not exactly what is expected of a Blue Chip prospect. After transferring from Miami in 2009 and sitting out the 2010 season per NCAA regulations regarding transfers, the elder Brown brother is building off a phenomenal spring whereby he has reportedly found the explosive speed and athleticism that had eluded him in Miami, so much so that he has been named to the preseason Butkus watch list for the nation’s best linebacker and is also in the running for the Bronko Nagurski award for the top defensive player in the country.
The younger Brown brother, Bryce, has a similar story to tell. After a tumultuous recruiting battle won by the University of Tennessee a little over a year ago, followed by an even more scandalous departure from Knoxville by then-Volunteer-head-coach Lane Kiffin, Bryce Brown earned his release from Tennessee and has been cleared to play for the Wildcats this season after also sitting out a year. Unlike his older brother, Bryce is leaving his former school having actually shown glimpses of the immense talent that made him a Five Star recruit. Following a 104-yard initial outing, Bryce found himself splitting time in the Volunteer backfield with Montario Hardesty. Though a true freshman, Brown finished the season averaging 4.6 yards per carry and finding the endzone three times in the tough-as-iron Southeastern Conference, an already strong mark he should improve upon in Manhattan. He enters the summer competing with John Hubert for the right to run in the lanes that former Heisman Trophy candidate- and current Miami Dolphin second round pick, Daniel Thomas, left behind on his way to the NFL. Both backs excelled in the Spring Game. Brown gained 73 yards on the ground and scored twice, while Hubert put up 79 yards rushing and a TD of his own. Brown is expected to win the job, however, as he was named to the preseason All-Big 12 first team, while Hubert will also see time returning kicks.
Kansas State has plenty of other questions to be addressed as Big 12 Media Day approaches next week- namely, what can be expected of newly-crowned QB Collin (Don’t Call Me Calvin) Klein and whether or not the defensive line will provide any assemblance of a pass rush and/or stop the run. No question is bigger, however, than whether or not the Brown brothers can deliver on the promise that had recruiting circles expecting their on-time arrivals just three years ago…
…Better late than never.
Topics: Arthur Brown, Big 12, Big 12 Media Day, Bill Snyder, Bryce Brown, Collin Klein, Dan Cavender, Daniel Thomas, John Hubert, Kansas State, Kansas State Wildcats, Lane Kiffin, Miami Hurricanes, Montario Hardesty, Sean Spence, Tennessee Volunteers