In Kansas there's no debating who the No. 1 prospect is. Kansas is home to five-star outside linebacker Arthur Brown, and the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder leads the way in what is a somewhat down year in the Sunflower State. But that doesn't mean there aren't talented players in the newly released Rivals.com Kansas top 10.
While players two through 10 are definitely talented, there's no better place to start than at the top with Brown.
It's hard to say anything that hasn't already been said about Brown, who's ranked as the nation's No. 2 outside linebacker and the No. 15 player overall. With a list of more than 50 scholarships offers, Brown is one of the premiere players in the nation.
"It's a great thing to be ranked among the top players in the nation," Brown said. "I feel that it's an honor to be in that predicament. To me really it's not hard to hard to stay humble. That's all I do, and that's all I've ever been. Really it's not been hard to stay the same way. I just take it all in stride because I know that I've just been blessed."
In 2006, Brown had 132 tackles and 12 sacks, helping him earn first-team all-state, first-team all-city, and first-team all-metro honors.
There's also not much debate as to who holds the No. 2 spot in Kansas. That honor belongs to Wichita Northwest athlete Chris Harper.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound athlete has several scholarship offers from schools such as California, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M. A few schools have said they'll give him a chance at quarterback. Harper showed at the NIKE Training Camp that he does have some potential as a quarterback, but he might also be an excellent receiver in college, too.
Harper was the MVP of the 2005 state basketball tournament, compiled more than 1,000 yards rushing and threw for more 500 yards. He scored a combined 15 touchdowns on the season.
"Chris is a special player," Northwest coach Weston Schartz said. "I've coached some really good players in my time in Wichita, but I really think that Chris is one of those players that you only get the pleasure of coaching just a few times in your career. He's also such a great kid, and he's handled the attention and the pressure as well as any kid that I've been around."
While there wasn't much debate about the top two spots, there were four players that could make a legitimate argument for the No. 3 spot.
The nod, though, went to Rossville, Kan., defensive end Duane Zlatnik.
The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder hasn't gotten as much pub and attention as others in-state, but that's because he's mainly been quiet about his college choice. He's got offers from Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
He led his team in touchdown receptions at tight end as a junior with nine, but he projects on the defensive side of the ball. He's also a heck of a wrestler. He won 3-1A State in wrestling in the 285 weight class with a record of 41-0, and he also won state as a sophomore with a 38-2 record. He said college coaches have told him that he's one of the toughest and most physical players they've seen in the area in a while.
"I played most of the season with a hurt right shoulder," he said. "I separated it in a game against St. Mary's and then I dislocated it in the next game. I had to play through a lot of pain."
That toughness is something that college coaches love.
Rounding out the top five in the state is McPherson, Kan., tight end Tanner Hawkinson and Dodge City, Kan., quarterback Kale Pick. Hawkinson, who is 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, has received scholarship offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Colorado State and Georgia Tech. Pick, a 6-foot-1, 198-pound dual-threat quarterback, recently picked the Arkansas Razorbacks after turning down offers from Colorado State, Iowa State, Kansas, Wyoming, Rice and SMU.
At No. 6 on the list is probably the player that could rise the most up the list in 2007.
That player is Kyler Reed of Overland Park (Kan.) St. Thomas Aquinas. Reed is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound athlete. He did most of his damage on offense last season, but more and more schools are interested to see how he develops in 2007 on the defensive side of the ball. He would like to play offense in college, but he's also open to anywhere on the field.
"I want to play offense for sure," Reed said. "But I'd also be fine with defense. I ask the coaches where they like me at, and they're not too sure yet. I'd like to be a running back, because it's my favorite position. But I don't know if I see myself playing it in college. I think I'm fast enough for receiver, but I'm not a speed receiver. I'd be more of a possession type guy."
Some think he might be a tight end, but he's not sure about that.
"I don't think I have the size to be a tight end, though," he said. "So I'm kind of in the middle. But if they want me at running back, I'd be fine with it. That's where I've always played, but I'll go whatever position the coaches like me at."