Quick note: This is the last post in this series, so I'd like to offer a sincere thanks and congratulations to any of you who actually read all of them. My current plan is to revisit these players in a post (posts?) at the end of the season to see how they actually did compared to expectations.
Our final player is Daniel Sams, which only makes sense considering how easy it is to project greatness onto the dynamic sophomore. Any quarterback who can rush for more than 9 yards, including 3 touchdowns, on 5 of his first 6 attempts as a freshman is destined to become overhyped. It's as unfair as it is unavoidable.
Of course, it also shows significant potential for one of the best pure athletes to play the position at Kansas State, which is not the kind of praise I give out lightly. Sams has some special skills that can't be taught, but the question is whether he can develop the other attributes of an elite quarterback.
Rumor has it he's got a pretty decent arm, which could make him rather incredible if he can combine it with even decent decisionmaking. Just look at a guy like Michael Bishop, who would certainly never be accused of having a high football IQ.
The best-case scenario for Sams would be if his mystery injury in fall camp kept him from taking the top spot over Waters, a quality quarterback in his own right. But if Sams can return to his top running form and show some ability to lead an offense and make the simple throws along with an occasional deep ball, it's hard to see him not earning the starting job.
It would perhaps be unfair to expect him to play like Bishop during his junior season, but Sams could certainly surpass sophomore year Ell Roberson and be at least at the level of junior Jonathan Beasley. That could make for a special offense, considering John Hubert is a far better option than Joe Hall or Frank Murphy and this year's receiving corps could be very dangerous if teams have to worry about two quality running options.
Pure speed will get you a long way, but at some point Sams must also show some of the intangibles that made his predecessor, Collin Klein, so irreplaceable. It's a lot to ask of a sophomore, but hopefully he understands it comes as part of the position.
Ideally, two years of training will give Sams a decent handle on how to read coverages or handle the option. If he can avoid turnovers and make enough smart, accurate throws to keep defenses honest, he could look very good with the help of Hubert and one of the league's best offensive lines.
While Waters can probably pass better than Klein could, Sams can probably run better than Klein, though not by such a wide margin as you might think, considering how intelligent a rusher Klein was. Nonetheless, considering that was certainly CK's strength, it gives the optimist in me more than enough reason to believe Sams could vault up to the starting position and eventually go down as one of Kansas State's best quarterbacks.
Previously in this series: