Athletic at Wide Receiver
"We are very, very, very comfortable," said receiver coach Michael Smith. "We have a nice collection of athletes, and the quarterbacks have a confidence in the guys in that they are going to be where they're supposed to be." The Wildcat receiver positions - X, W, R - are unique in that there will be someone new at each position from 2009, but also someone with experience at each position. • After a 34-catch, 407-yard junior season in 2008, Aubrey Quarles, a transfer from Santa Rosa Junior College, missed the 2009 season due to a hip injury but is now back. • Adrian Hilburn has played just three games in two years due to injury after his arrival in 2008 from San Francisco Community College. • Chris Harper is new to the program, but he played the 2008 season at Oregon as a quarterback and wide receiver. • Brodrick Smith, like Harper, redshirted in 2009 after transferring from Minnesota, where he had five catches for 50 yards and one touchdown in 2008. • Tramaine Thompson was a redshirt in 2009, but was in the program. • Sheldon Smith saw spot duty in six games last year and returns with his total health. Collectively, Smith says, "We have some legitimate weapons. We hope to be more explosive. To only have the five or six touchdowns we had last year was really disappointing." To start the year, Quarles (5-11, 202, Sr.), Brodrick Smith (6-2, 206, So.) and Thompson (5-7, 165, Fr.) were penciled in as early-fall starters. Coach Smith calls Smith "... like Quincy Morgan, but not as explosive. We're excited to watch what he can do with that size." Of Quarles, he said, "Aubrey has given us nice leadership and I think sitting out last year made him hungry." And of Thompson, Smith said, "What Brodrick gives us in straight out speed, Tramaine gives us a better route runner. A year in our system has helped him with the nuances of playing the position." Hilburn (6-1, 195, Sr.) is expected to back Brodrick Smith at the X, Harper (6-1, 234, So.) will be behind Thompson at the W, and Sheldon Smith (5-11, 180, Sr.) is nipping at the heels of Quarles at the R. "Those are all athletic kids who we are very, very comfortable with," said Smith. "In fairness to the guys who graduated last year and were only in our system one year, this will be the second year for these guys, and that's big." With Harper and Brodrick Smith coming from other Division I schools, Coach Smith added, "That's big because they're not going to have stage fright. They've been in the big stadium which will help them get rid of those nerves a lot faster, plus they know the speed and routine of big-time football." THEY COULD THROW IT, TOO: Harper and Brodrick Smith are both former Kansas prep quarterbacks at Wichita Northwest High School and Garden City High School, respectively. Harper started his career at Oregon as a quarterback where he became the first player in the previous eight years to run, pass and catch a touchdown in the same season. Smith rushed for 2,700-plus yards and passed for over 1,400 yards in his final two years of high school. COACH SMITH, wide receivers, 13th season at Kansas State: Smith was a third-team All-American for the Wildcats in 1991 when his career total of 2,457 receiving yards ranked third-highest in Big Eight history ... his yardage still ranks No. 3 in Kansas State history, as do his 179 career catches ... has also coached at Rice and Arizona ... a part of 12 bowl games.