To Brodrick Smith, there's no place like Kansas, especially when that's where his soon to be two-year-old son, Blake, lives.
"I came back to be closer to my son," said Smith, a product of Garden City, Kan., who first attended the University of Minnesota out of high school. "My son, plus I knew there were good coaches here."
As a prep quarterback at Garden City High School, Smith rushed for 1,446 yards and passed for 700, accounting for 24 touchdowns in his senior season when he earned first-team Class 6A All-State honors.
As a junior, he had 2,000 total yards of offense with another 21 touchdowns – passing and rushing -- that he had a hand in.
While K-State was a finalist, Smith, the son of former Wildcat wide receiver Lawrence Tolbert, chose Minnesota.
"It was a great experience. I don't regret at all going to Minnesota," said Smith, who started two games and played in 12 as a freshman in 2008 when he had five catches for 50 yards and one touchdown.
"But I love this choice (Kansas State). I can't see myself any place else." Serving on the scout team last year after transferring, Smith has already worked himself into the Wildcats' projected 2010 starting lineup as a 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver.
"Brodrick went through the out of season program and worked on change of direction and a variety of different running things that we do. All of us were extremely impressed with his progress, his effort, his quickness, his ability to change direction, etc," said coach Bill Snyder.
"Now that he is on the field that has been tempered a little bit and I am quite certain that is because it is a learning process. "He is learning the offense, he is experiencing it rather than just hearing it in the classroom as far as schematics are concerned. He has got to think his way through some things and I think that has kind of tempered his ability to do things naturally," Snyder continued.
"We are just waiting for him to feel more comfortable with the offense, and when he does, I think his capabilities will present themselves."
Smith, along with defensive back Terrance Sweeney were clocked with the fastest 40s this off-season at "… somewhere in the 4.4s," said Smith. But he added, "This game is more than speed."
Smith will be trying to fill the spots vacated by Brandon Banks (56 catches, 705 yards) and Attrail Snipes (28 catches, 424 yards), plus tight end Jeron Mastrud (21 catches, 233 yards) and Lamark Brown (18 catches, 215 yards) as four of KSU's top five receivers last year.
But along with fellow newcomer Chris Harper, plus Aubrey Quarles, who is coming off an injury that sidelined him in 2009, Smith says, "I think we're going to surprise people. We're working hard to get on the same page with our quarterbacks."
Just on the scout team last year, Smith said, "I really missed the competition. With the scout team, you were trying to get the defense better, and yourself better, but you really weren't competing. It's very satisfying to get back on the field again.
"We have several guys back from last year, who are hungry to get on the field," Smith said in reference to Sheldon Smith and Tramaine Thompson, who saw only spot duty in 2009. "I think there's a good group all trying to be factors."