This might just be the easiest position preview for the 2019 Kansas State Wildcats. For just the third time in a decade, there is zero controversy or questions about the starting quarterback job for heading into the season.
From his return in 2009 until his retirement following the 2018 season, Bill Snyder entered a season just twice with a starting quarterback 100% decided upon. In 2012, Collin Klein was coming off a 10-win season and was generating early Heisman buzz. In 2014, Jake Waters was poised to lead the Wildcats to their second Big 12 Championship in two seasons until a mid-season injury slowed the offense.
Yeah, that’s the list.
2017 comes ohsoclose, but there were still questions as to Jesse Ertz’s ability to stay healthy long-term, and Snyder’s ever-wandering eye favoring Alex Delton. Plus some kid who had been a star on the scout team in 2016 was turning plenty of heads elsewhere on the coaching staff.
But now it’s a new era. And since Dec. 10th, 2018, it’s been absolutely clear who the starting quarterback would be entering the 2019 season for K-State football. Skylar Thompson.
And it’s not just because Alex Delton, who currently has the nod for the starting job for the Gary Patterson’s TCU Horned Frogs, decided he was going to seek a different purple pasture to finish his career. Thompson was recruited by new head coach Chris Klieman while Klieman was North Dakota State. Thompson fits the mold of QB’s that flourished under Klieman -- NFL Draft picks Carson Wentz and Easton Stick. And maybe most importantly, Thompson was favored by retained QB coach Collin Klein. It was the perfect set-up for Thompson to firmly take the reins at the most important position on offense, and the perfect situation for Klieman to come in and immediately make a statement about the new direction of the program.
And so, entering the 2019 season, Skylar Thompson is the clear, absolute starter for your Kansas State Wildcats.
There is still a battle at QB, but it’s right where you want it to be. SO Nick Ast and RS-FR John Holcombe II show up on the first depth chart of the season with the “OR” between their names. And the reports out of practice (that weren’t just rumors, there were like real, live reporters allowed at practice) were that the two have been locked together since spring practice, trading places as the front-runner seemingly every other day.
Holcombe has more “raw ability”, but Ast is no slouch (he was a KS state champion in the 100 hurdles), and reportedly spends a ton of time in the film room. Hopefully they get a chance to get some reps during blowouts. One of these young men will eventually win the battle, but they have all of 2019 (and presumably 2020) to battle and make each other better before Klieman and Klein have to make a choice about Thompson’s eventual replacement.
That future also includes Jaren Lewis, a true freshman who arrived in time for spring practice, and is likely fourth on the depth chart, but will most likely not see any more action than the new four-game limit allows. He was also recruited to North Dakota State by the incoming staff, and was pushing hard in spring practices before leveling off a bit during the summer and early fall practices. That’s not a concern right now, he is still just a true freshman, but hopefully he gets a chance to see what college football is all about in a game or two this season.
Lewis is joined on the back-end of the depth chart by SO Ryan Henington and true-FR Chris Herron, but both Henington and Herron are more likely to see action at wide receiver in 2019 than behind center.