Kansas LB is one to watch

While the 2008 recruiting season has officially come and gone, the process never stops. CanesTime is on the 2009 recruiting trail and we are going to introduce you to some of the names and faces you might be seeing often throughout Road to Signing Day 2009. Read on to acquaint yourself with one of the Midwest's top ‘Mike linebackers, Conway Springs HS's (KS) Jaydan Bird.

If there is one player that Hurricane fans can look to in the 2009 recruiting season that brings back memories of an old school, throwback-style linebacker, it is Conway Springs' Jaydan Bird.

If there is a comparison to be made, his trainer, Brian Butler believes it is with a former two-time Dick Butkus Award winner.

"He is a throwback," Brian Butler, Bird's trainer said. "Think Bosworth. He certainly looks like him with the shaggy hair and aggressive, strong willed play. He is a hard worker and passionate with strong desire, which because of life events, shaped him to who he is today."

The road to Bird's senior season hasn't been an easy one. At the age of two, Bird's father died in a car accident. He also has grown up side-by-side with his brother (Jordan) – a paraplegic – who showed him a lot about perseverance. Jordan Bird is now considered one of the world's most recognized paraplegic athletes in the world.

Bird (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) has overcome a lot in his life, and is now on to potentially big things as a senior, where he will surely be one of the nation's most heavily recruited middle linebackers. He currently has offers from three schools and is waiting for the rest to come in. He has already narrowed down his list of potential Universities to 15.

The list includes Miami (Fl.), Oklahoma, and Kansas State (the first three to offer him), Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Arkansas, Oregon, Georgia Tech, and Georgia.

"Every situation is going to be different, family wise," Butler said. "His brother is at Arizona so that is why they are listed. The other schools are places he feels he will be comfortable. He is a spiritual guy and won't pre-judge a school or go to a childhood favorite."

Bird already has a list of schools he will be looking at early in the process. Kansas and Kansas State are two of the programs he'll visit early in the process for unofficial visits.

During his junior campaign, Bird has played both middle linebacker and fullback in high school. He would rush for 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns as a sophomore from the position and would amass 60 tackles as a junior in a shorted season due to a cracked fibula.

Because of the injury, he will enter the season as a player to watch shoot up analysts lists as the best at his position because of his intensity and willingness to hit a player.

"He will tear your head off," Butler said. "He loves contact. When he hits you he wants to put you to sleep. He is a crazy middle linebacker just like (Dick) Butkus and Bosworth – a true football player and not a finesse guy at all. When he comes it is with bad intensions."

While many consider old school linebackers to lack athleticism to make the sideline-to-sideline tackles, Butler believes Bird can.

"He runs in the 4.55-4.6 range in the forty-yard dash," Butler said. "He can run and plays in the box very well because that has been his responsibility on the field. He can run well, all over the field. And because he is football savvy, he'll succeed."

With a high football IQ, Bird has been the player responsible for his Conway Springs squad's assignments as the coaches relay the plays into Bird before the snap.

"In high school, even though many players don't have a lot of responsibilities, he does," Butler said. "He moved everyone around and developed very good intelligence because of it."

Currently, Bird carries a 3.85 GPA and is on track to commit early. He hasn't taken an ACT or SAT yet.

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