MANHATTAN — Say this much for Kansas State junior Lamark Brown: He makes a good first impression.
"When I got here in the summer, he was the guy who stuck out on appearance alone," K-State senior quarterback Grant Gregory said. "He has that Terrell Owens body."
Brown, at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, indeed has an impressive build. His teammates and coaches refer to him as a "born athlete" and say he could play almost any position. Problem is, he sticks out so much that coaches have not been shy about trying him out in different spots throughout his collegiate career.
In his first two years with the Wildcats, he has dabbled at wide receiver, moved to running back and seen action as a quarterback out of the wildcat formation. He led the team with 412 rushing yards a year ago.
Brown, though, is back at wide receiver.
And coming off a three catch, 61-yard game against Iowa State in which he made a key fourth-quarter touchdown grab, the hope is that K-State has finally figured out how to best utilize Brown's athleticism.
"Lamark is really coming together this season," junior offensive lineman Wade Weibert said. "He came up big for us against UCLA, and he came up big in our last game. He's having a great year and he's worked hard for it."
Weibert said Brown tends to stay late after practice to catch extra passes, and that work started paying off against UCLA when Brown first made his presence known at wide receiver by grabbing four passes for 43 yards.
He remained quiet in K-State's other games, but he was noticed again when Gregory hit him for a 40-yard play across the middle in the first quarter last week.
Here was a new quarterback throwing to a relatively new receiver, and it was a connection the Wildcats had sorely been missing. All season, one of their top priorities has been to search for players who could complement senior playmaker Brandon Banks in the receiving corps.
With Attrail Snipes and now Brown showing signs of progress, Banks thinks K-State has found itself quality possession receivers.
"Being able to catch the ball in traffic (is) probably (Brown's) biggest thing," Banks said. "Going up and catching the ball at its highest point, (that's why) he's a big time play-maker."
Brown, who wasn't available for interviews this week, showcased that skill by making a nifty catch in traffic for a touchdown against the Cyclones. Gregory scrambled out of the pocket and was forced to look for someone on a broken play. No matter how he threw it, it would take improvisation and athleticism on the part of a receiver.
Gregory eventually saw Brown well-covered in the left side of the end zone, but lofted a pass. Brown leaped for it while the Iowa State defender couldn't keep up and dropped to the ground. Brown hauled it in and K-State went on to win 24-23. Afterward, Gregory called Brown a "red-zone target."
"It was a nice catch that he made in the ballgame for the touchdown," Cats coach Bill Snyder said. "It just kind of showcased his physical presence as much as anything."