Manhattan — He’s not quite King Arthur of Kansas just yet. The start that linebacker Arthur Brown has gotten off to with Kansas State may earn him that nickname in due time, though.
Through two games with the Wildcats, Brown has already racked up 19 tackles and led a retooled defense that has hardly surrendered a point. He’s living up to the hype that comes with being a one-time high-profile recruit, and that only grew after he transferred from Miami and spent last season terrorizing the Kansas State offense as a member of the scout team.
“Nothing’s changed with Arthur,” wide receiver Curry Sexton said. “I’m sure he’s got a little fire inside of him that’s burning a little bit harder than usual this week.”
Yes, that fire is certainly stoked. Brown is leading the Wildcats back to Miami to face his former team Saturday.
“Arthur’s just an even-keeled guy. He doesn’t change demeanor no matter the circumstances,” Sexton said. “Arthur’s just going to go out and play his game like he does every weekend. We’re not worried about Arthur and any distractions he might have. That’s just the kind of guy he is.”
Brown and his brother, Bryce, who is also in his first season with the Wildcats after transferring from Tennessee, were standouts at Wichita East High School.
The elder Brown spent two seasons with the Hurricanes — his name was mentioned in the Nevin Shapiro booster allegations, though he’s been cleared by the NCAA to compete. But it was a rocky tenure in Coral Gables, which included a position move and little playing time, and eventually Brown decided that he wanted to transfer closer to home.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder was pleased to get him.
“I don’t think he lacked success there,” Snyder said. “I think he was just a young pup.”
Brown certainly hasn’t lacked success at Kansas State, where he leads the team in tackles and has exemplified a new level of speed on a defense that is trying to kick last season’s reputation as one of the worst in the country.
Snyder said it has been difficult for the Wildcats to emulate the Hurricanes’ speed in practice, but Brown has a pretty good idea of what they’ll be going up against.
And he’s giving the rest of the players the same kind of picture.
“We’re flying around on defense,” safety Tysyn Hartman said. “We’re playing a lot faster than we did last year. We’re excited to play; we’re excited to be out there, running on and off the field.”
Sexton said he doesn’t know whether there’s a Miami linebacker who runs better than Brown from side to side, and Hartman made it clear that Brown is the fastest defensive player for Kansas State — pretty high praise coming from a guy who occasionally returns punts for the Wildcats.
“His cat-like quickness is just unreal,” Sexton said. “Sometimes you see a little tiny hole open up, and you think the offense has a shot to make a big play, and then Arthur shows up in the hole. He reacts so quickly. He kind of has an uncanny ability to just read the offense and make plays.”
“We knew he was going to play well, but we didn’t know he was going to play this well, and we’re excited for him,” Hartman said. “We know he can still get better. He’s learning even in the games. He’ll make a mistake early in the game, and it’ll be corrected when we’re watching film later in the game.”