Wichita is already on the map as one of the top places to look for recruits in the Heartland, and that looks like it'll be the case again in the 2009 class. Everybody already knows about Bryce Brown, the potential five-star running back, but he's not alone. College coaches are already excited about Jaydan Bird of Andover, Kan.
The 6-foot-2, 216-pound inside linebacker is trained by Brian Butler, who also works with Arthur Brown and Bryce Brown. In 2006, Bird had 117 tackles, including 64 solo stops, one interception and 1,537 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns on offense.
"My sophomore season went well," Bird, who also impressed at the Boulder NIKE Camp, said.
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"We went 8-4 and got to sectionals. I think I had a great year, and I had a good year on defense. I was playing both ways because our school doesn't have a lot of other running backs. I was honorable mention all-state running back and first-team all-league, too, but I'm going to college for linebacker."
And linebacker is where Bird lets his true colors shine through. He's a head hunter that can destroy quarterbacks and ball-carriers. His mean, rugged and intense demeanor on the field fits how he plays.
"I just run people over," he said. "I love hitting people. I make plays."
Bird has learned a lot over the past few months training with Butler. He said he's already noticed a dramatic improvement in his entire game, especially with his athletic ability.
"I am working on getting a tad bit faster," Bird said. "I want to get down to a 4.5 in the 40. I think I'm at about 4.6 now, but I'm thinking I'm faster than that now. I'm pretty sure I am. But working out with Butler has helped me out tremendously. He knows what the coaches are looking for, and working with him will help me get to where I need to be."
Bird has also learned a lot by watching Arthur Brown go through the recruiting process. Bird, too, will be a heavily recruited prospect in next year's class. He will be with Butler, the Browns and several other high profile Kansas recruits as they make their way on a tour of several schools in the Southeast in mid-July.
"This trip will be an experience," Bird said. "I like everything that's happened so far, and I'm happy for the exposure that I've gotten. I've learned a lot by watching Arthur handle everything, and that'll help me when it's my turn. But right now it's just about getting better and better and seeing some new places. That's what really excites me about the trip coming up."
Bird and several others from Wichita did make it to Kansas State earlier this week for an unofficial visit to the Wildcats' camp. While he didn't work out, he did get to spend quite a bit of time with the K-State coaches and he also walked away with his first oral scholarship offer.
"We just went up there to hang out," Bird said. "We were hanging out with all the coaches, and they were really cool. I met a lot of the players, too. I met a lot of their linebackers, Josh Freeman and all the guys. James Franklin, the coach that recruits Wichita for them, said they were going to recruit me hard.
"They gave me a verbal offer, and they said they'll send the real one in the mail when they can after Sept. 1. Coach Venables at Oklahoma said they were going to offer me, too. There seem to be a lot of schools that are interested in me."
And Bird at this early stage is wide open to anybody that's interested in him.
"I just like football," he said.
"I like any college game that's on TV. I like to watch the game. It doesn't matter what college is on, I'm going to watch it, so it's hard to say that I grew up rooting for anybody. I'm going to be looking for the best fit, and the place that I'll be most comfortable. I want to get the best education I can, and I need to find a place that has the best educational program in whatever major I pick."