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Kansas State Football Recruiting: Breaking Down the Will Howard Commitment

The Pennsylvanian is just what Chris Klieman and Collin Klein needed at quarterback for the 2020 recruiting class

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz and Daren Sproles. Nuff said.
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats kept their hot June going when Will Howard, a 6’4, 205 pound, 3-star (85) quarterback out of Downington West High School in Downington, Pennsylvania gave his verbal commitment to K-State.

Howard committed to Kansas State over 12 listed offers including offers from Kansas, Maryland, Temple, Minnesota, and Rutgers.

What Does He Bring to the Table?

Mobility, Arm Strength and Composure

Howard is a big kid, with a big arm, that can move around and deliver the ball down the field.

What I like most about Howard’s film is his ability to escape a congested pocket, keep his eyes downfield and deliver a strike. He can run the ball, but I want a quarterback who looks to throw until that option is no longer available. It’s much harder to defend a quarterback when you don’t know if he’s going to dump it off or take off.

While I like his ability to move outside the pocket and still deliver a strike, his willingness to stand tall in a crumbling pocket and get rid of the ball with the rush in his face is equally impressive.

High School quarterbacks (at least most of them that I’ve seen on film) look to break the pocket as soon as something looks slightly off. All it takes is a defender to sneak an arm by an O-lineman and most high school QBs are looking for an escape route instead of looking to push the ball down the field. Howard stands tall and lets it rip in the face of the rush. That should serve him well at the next level.

It’s hard to evaluate players on highlight films, and that goes double for quarterbacks. Howard’s ability to learn and execute the offense will determine his ability to find the field early in his career. I would expect him to redshirt as a freshman and then compete for the starting job in 2021 when Skylar Thompson exhausts his eligibility.

Howard is currently a 3-star player, but has room to move up the rankings after his junior season came to a premature end because of an injury in his 7th game. He seems like a guy with the physical ability to take his game to the next level as a senior in high school and at the collegiate level.

Kansas State is buying in at the ground floor on a QB prospect with the potential to take off as a senior.

What It Means for the 2020 Class

Quarterback is the most important position in team sports (IMHO) so it’s always nice to land a QB you like early in the recruiting process.

There were several moving parts in Wildcats pursuit of a 2020 quarterback, and they all fell into place this weekend, with the K-State quarterback wheel landing on Will Howard. The difference between Howard and any other QB on the K-State radar this weekend (be it Chubba Purdy or Hunter Dekkers) is negligible. The Wildcats would have been fine with any of those three guys.

I find it exciting that the new coaching staff was able to go way outside of the Wildcats normal recruiting footprint to land a solid quarterback. I think people underestimate the cache of being able to say “this is what I did with Carson Wentz and Easton Stick, and this is how I’m going to use you.” Based on some of the articles I’ve read on Howard, that played a role in his commitment. I think you’ll see that narrative continue over the next few classes, hopefully he’ll be able to add Skylar Thompson to the list.

Moving On

The summer dead period (from June 24th to July 24th, 2019) gives the coaching staff a chance to take a deep breath, relax (as much as football coaches can relax) and prepare for the upcoming season. It gives me a chance to catch up with all these dang profiles and maybe give you guys a better idea of how this all fits together in terms of the big picture.

See you soon.