Arthur Brown could become a playmaker on defense that Kansas State’s football team sorely needs.
Brown, a blue-chip prospect out of high school at Wichita East in 2008, transferred to Kansas State last year from Miami. He sat out last season in accordance with NCAA rules, watching from the sidelines as the Wildcats finished 7-6 overall.
On Saturday, Wildcats fans will get their first glimpse of Brown, a 6-foot-1, 223-pound junior linebacker, in action. The annual Purple-White game kicks off at 1:10 p.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.
“Right now, we are preparing to be the best we can be by the time the season starts,” Brown said in a recent press conference. “I expect a lot out of myself and the fans can expect a lot as well.
“I am preparing to better myself in every area, as far as studying and knowing my assignments, as well as the rest of the defensive unit’s assignments. We are working together as one to accomplish one goal.”
Brown, among others, will be depended upon to help improve a defense that ranked 106th among 120 Football Subdivision teams in total defense in 2010.
“I think that we are more athletic at the linebacker position collectively across the board than we were a year ago,” Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder said. “You can be more athletic and still have some issues … just the inexperience of being able to be on the field and play the position on a regular basis in a qualified system is still a work in progress.
“Arthur, Tre (Walker) and Emmanuel (Lamur) all are works in progress, but they are making progress and are making headway. They bring more athleticism to the position, so I am pleased with the direction they are heading right now.”
Dating back to his early prep days, Brown was regarded as one of the top recruits around and certainly in Kansas. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds during the 2006 Oklahoma summer camp, which prompted OU coach Bob Stoops to predict that Brown would win the Dick Butkus Award two times.
Former USC and current Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said during that time that Brown was the best linebacker he had seen in seven years.
That was a few light years ago, before he signed with Miami, where he played for two seasons, falling short of his hype.
Brown last played for the Hurricanes in 2009 as a sophomore. He totaled 13 tackles in 12 games, including one for a loss and also recovered a fumble. As a freshman, he played 11 games, mostly on special teams.
“For me, it was just more of a personal decision,” Brown said of transferring to Kansas State. “It was just about being closer to home and allowing my family to really enjoy me being in college because they never really got a chance to visit me when I was in Miami.
“So now they can come watch me and enjoy the games and that is an enjoyment for me as well.”
Arthur is one year older than his younger brother Bryce Brown, a 6-0, 220-pound sophomore and one of the candidates for the starting running back position vacated by prospective NFL draft pick Daniel Thomas.
“We have played on the same team since the second grade, so to come together now that we are in college and still have the opportunity to play together is going to be great for me, my brother and my family,” Arthur said.
Bryce, a former high school All-American at Wichita East, transferred to Kansas State last year and, like his brother, sat out the 2010 season. Bryce played for one season at Tennessee, finishing the 2009 campaign with 460 rushing yards on 101 carries. He also caught 10 passes for 137 yards and one score.
Coming out of high school, Bryce was the No. 1 running back and No. 1 overall prospect in the 2009 recruiting class by Rivals.com. He also was the No. 2-rated prep running back by ESPN.
“Bryce is learning to be a multi-faceted running back,” Snyder said. “Daniel (Thomas) had some of those capabilities and had to learn some. He took it to heart that it was important to become a complete player.
“Bryce is in the process of learning that.”
Also making a push at running back is John Hubert, a 5-7, 185-pound sophomore from Waco, Texas.
Hubert, an elusive prototype, might also be included in Kansas State’s return game. He appeared in seven games last season as an understudy to the departed Thomas and William Powell.