May 17, 2007

Wichita event draws top players, coaches

WICHITA, Kan. - Pete Carroll had to see it. So did Bob Stoops, Dan Hawkins, Urban Meyer, Mark Mangino and many others.

Wichita was the center of the college football world at least for a day as many of the nation's top programs were on hand at the Potential College Player Day on Wednesday at Wichita East High School to watch blue-chip prospects like five-star linebacker Arthur Brown showcase their skills.

It was certainly the day of the Brown brothers, as Arthur and junior running back Bryce Brown, carried the weight of each and every coach's eyes at the camp each time they went through a drill. The two players, who most feel are the most elite prospects to emerge from the state since former five-star and current Cleveland Brown, Kamerion Wimbley, were not only stars for the coaches to see but the media to fawn over.

"Man, it was just one interview after another when we finished," Arthur Brown said of his interviews for local television and radio stations. was the only on-line sports organization invited to cover the event, and the two Browns were the main attraction for all parties involved.

They did nothing to harm their lofty reputations as arguably the best players in the country within their own respective classes. While the potential five-star linebacker had some trouble with his footing at times, and the 2009 five-star to-be struggled with receiving from time to time, there is no denying that every coach involved with the two left more than satisfied with what they had seen.

"Whatever they are feeding those kids, I need to get some of it for mine," one college assistant could be overheard joking to another.

In spite of the late addition of the NIKE SPARQ to the camp, there were no official times for the Brown brothers, or any other player in attendance.

That didn't stop the camp from having some pretty serious competition during the various cone, ladder, and sprint drills that the players used to loosen up and show their footwork off to the litany of coaches.

"I thought I did pretty well, I mean there were a few things that I wish I could have improved upon but I'm pretty happy with the day," Bryce Brown said.

While the event was put on by the Browns' family friend and confidant, Brian Butler, to many of the players they were in fact the hosts and more often than not the example that was used to show how drills were to be performed.

Most every player in attendance knew of the Browns prior to arriving, and while their play did nothing to disappoint their counterparts the Browns, as usual, were even more impressive to talk to.

"I talked some to Bryce and he was a real nice guy. He was just talking to me and wasn't arrogant about the attention or anything," Bixby, Okla. junior tight end Greg Brown said.


While the show was about the Browns for many coaches, with nearly 40 staffs represented from some of the nation's most prominent programs down to division two there were plenty of other players getting a good long look.

Perhaps no player made a stronger impression than Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge quarterback Jake Morse.

In fact, "strong" was exactly the word most used to describe Morse's most impressive talent.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound quarterback has the type of arm that can make each and every throw a college coach could require and probably even a few more that might even leave his coach in shock. While everyone spent the afternoon talking about the talent of the Brown brothers, one of the talented duo took some time to talk about Morse's impressive skill set.

"That guy has a gun, he was throwing it all over the place," Bryce Brown added.

Morse's only problem could be potentially learning to not throw the strikes he is capable of on each and every throw. The other big name quarterback in attendance, Nathan Stanley, showed off just that ability on the day.

The 6-foot-5, 185-pound Stanley stood out of the crowd as perhaps the tallest player in attendance but also showed nice touch on his throws after a few minutes of adjusting to the speed of some of his receivers. After a somewhat disappointing performance a few weeks ago at the Ft. Worth Nike camp, Stanley bounced back in a big way on Wednesday.

Stanley made several throws to his fellow Oklahoman, Greg Brown, who was clearly the camp's top tight end on the day.

"There weren't many other guys here at tight end, I was kind of hoping to have a look at some other guys but I thought I did well anyway," Brown said.

Another player who made a move up many coaches' list was Prairie Village (Kan.) Shawnee Mission East cornerback Terrance Thomas. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Thomas didn't have a chance to run a 40-yard dash against many hopeful challengers, but it didn't take long in watching him run to realize that his speed was clearly the tops of all in attendance when it comes to the speed department.

With one offer from Kansas State, Thomas came in with something to prove and looks to have done it.

The Wildcats were represented, not only off the field as 2008 commitment Logan Dold hung out with 2007 signing Tysyn Hartmann and several other future Wildcats, but also on it as fellow 2008 commit Brayden Burris worked out and was impressive due to some great footwork. Four Kansas State assistant coaches were also on hand.


There is no denying the talent of Wichita Northwest athlete Chris Harper just as there is no denying that is his future position is in total doubt. Harper worked out as both a receiver and quarterback on Wednesday and while he struggled at times at both, the fact that he was almost undoubtedly the most physically impressive player in attendance makes that somewhat forgivable.

Aside from the Brown brothers there was perhaps no player that had coaches chattering more.

"He is something, but I don't know what it is," said one assistant coach. "If someone can figure it out, he is going to be a dominant player."

At a legitimate 6-foot-2, 220-pounds Harper has heard talk of not only wide receiver and quarterback, but linebacker, safety, and even a few mentions of defensive end. All of this versatility has made Harper's greatest strength the same as his greatest weakness.

That's right, Harper suffers from many schools liking him at several positions but perhaps unconvinced of him at any one in particular. With that being said, as more coaches than ever before had a chance to put a face, and more importantly a huge frame, with a name expect Harper's attention to grow even more in the coming weeks.


While the Browns were the story on the field, the coaches off of it were the thing that had all the reporters chattering.

Names like John Blake, Kevin Cosgrove, Brent Venables, Cale Gundy, Ken Norton Jr., Bradley Dale Peveto, and James Franklin littered the side lines among the ton of college coaches.

"I am so happy with the turnout, coaches had RSVPed but you never know until they get here. I was glad kids got a chance to work out in front of so many great coaches," Brian Butler said.


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