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Jesse Ertz deserves more respect

The obnoxious minority will keep hating, but Ertz is a solid player who keeps producing despite a a clear handicap

NCAA Football: Texas at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

I’m just gonna rant for a minute.

Y’all need to stop trashing Jesse Ertz. Overall, I think the fanbase has a positive opinion of him, but the obnoxious minority needs to quiet down. The man came into today’s game with a bum shoulder and a questionable knee, completed 74 percent of his passes and ran for 94 yards (adjusted for sacks) and two touchdowns.

Blah blah Texas defense blah blah. That’s a good game.

Yeah, the interception was ugly and yeah, that last fumble (if it truly was a fumble) wasn’t something you wanted to see, but up until that pick, Ertz was playing out of his mind. Fans need to respect what K-State has here. There’s not a lot of quarterbacks out there that can come in with a reconstructed knee and a weak throwing shoulder and produce like that in their first season in the Big 12.

I talked to Deante Burton after the game, and he agreed.

“For a kid, this is his first time playing in the Big 12 Conference, I think he’s done pretty damn well if you ask me,” he told me. “I think, from the outside looking in, it’s easy to talk about what a Big 12 quarterback should be, but most of the people who talk about it have never done it. When I see Jesse going out there and playing, I’m amazed every day at how well he’s doing.

“Some would say he’s struggling — we’ve got a lot of students and other people saying ‘well, he’s not doing well, he’s not doing this,’ but it’s tough to get in front of 50,000 people and play against a Big 12 defense that’s flying around. Especially against Oklahoma and West Virginia. Teams like that. I definitely think Jesse’s getting better and better every day.”

I asked Deonte about the Jesse we always here about — the Jesse that blows away teammates in practice drills. The tireless worker with a ton of potential. He said this was as close as he’s seen to that Jesse in a live game — and he says there’s more to come.

We can’t know what Jesse can be, or what he will be.

And no matter what I say here, many of the haters won’t stop hating. Are there better quarterbacks than what we’ve seen of Jesse Ertz so far? Absolutely. K-State had one two years ago in Jake Waters. Waters is still underrated by a lot of fans in what he was able to do his senior year. It was fantastic. It helped that he had future NFL star Tyler Lockett to throw to, but Jake was beyond solid.

His junior year, though? He was shaky. He was booed at times, and there was a large contingency of fans repeatedly calling for the coaches to replace him for good. But he endured, he learned, he grew, and his senior season he led K-State to nine wins.

Will Jesse improve like that next year? Who knows? But right now he has the Wildcats at 4-3 and in the driver’s seat for a bowl game with only one game out of five remaining that most people agree is probably gonna be a loss.

I don’t know what sort of mindset it takes for a fan of a team to look at one of its players, who has suffered injury after injury but keeps giving it his all every play — and produces — and to call for his replacement. I don’t get it.

Send me your nasty tweets. Send me your emails. Some of you have probably already stopped reading and started typing. Tell me how Alex Delton would be better. I want to hear it. I want to hear what you think is wrong with a kid who takes what he has and does all he can with it.

Bring it on. I’m ready.