In the comment section of my last article on Kansas State’s struggle to close a few top players in the 2022 class, the question of transfers was raised. The coaching staff is holding up to 10 spots for transfers (out of 25 potential spots), and it will be interesting to see how the specter of transfers impacts high school recruiting. There is not better example of that than the quarterback position.
The 2021 depth chart is solid with Skylar leading the way and Howard, Lewis, and Rubley battling for position on the depth chart. As a few of you pointed out, that puts the coaching staff in a bit of a tough spot for 2022 quarterbacks. I have no idea what the depth chart will look like, but will be stocked with Sophomore’s (and potentially a freshman if Rubley is able to redshirt. That’s not ideal in terms of recruiting.
They made a strong run at Richard Torres but missed. How the staff handles 2022 quarterback recruiting should be telling about their overall recruiting strategy moving forward. The way I see it, they have four options.
1. Go After Another Class of 2022 Quarterback
This is would be the normal course of events over the past few decades. When you miss on your top guy, you move on the next guy on the list. This is still the most likely scenario. There will be a bunch of late rising high school players after COVID severely limited evaluations and high school football in general. Ideally you want to sign a quarterback early, because they tend to help recruit the rest of the class. This season, it may be in their best interest to sit tight and see what happens during the high school season.
I don’t have any particular players in mind. If I did, they wouldn’t be late risers I suppose. The only non-committed quarterback that currently holds a K-State offer is Trey Miles. He’s out of Phenix City, Alabama, and oddly enough, I’m familiar with his high school team. Clemson has made a living recruiting Phenix City Central wide receivers. 5* WR Justyn Ross and 4* WR E.J. Williams are both out of the Phenix City program. Miles is smaller (6’0”, 170) than any other quarterback on the board, and is considered a dual threat quarterback, as opposed to the Pro Style quarterbacks they’ve grabbed in the last two recruiting classes. As of today, K-State is Miles’s only Power 5 offer. He comes from a program that produces incredible wide receivers, and if he doesn’t make it at quarterback, he’s athletic enough to move to either wide receiver or defensive back.
He moved from Central to Georgia Knights Prep Academy after last season. New Central Head Coach Patrick Nix brought his son with him to start at quarterback. I’m not a fan of kids transferring to football factories, but it’s understandable in this case. I’m going to guess Miles will sit tight and see if he can grab other offers, but the Wildcats could attempt to expedite his decision making process if he’s a guy they covet.
“Commit now or there may not be a spot for you later,” can be motivating for a guy with his offer list.
Trey Miles Highlights
2. Bank the Scholarship and Roll the Dice On Avery Johnson
I see no reason to reach for a quarterback in 2022. If the coaching staff doesn’t love their options, not recruiting a 2022 quarterback is an option. In theory, they will have three quarterbacks on the 2022 roster. Adding a fourth guy isn’t a necessity.
Class of 2023 recruit Avery Johnson out of Maize, Kansas is well on his way to becoming a 4* prospect. He’s a national level recruit, and his robust offer list will only get longer. I’m lukewarm on the Wildcats chances, but not bringing in a 2022 quarterback could help with his recruitment. No better way to show a player that he is “the guy” than skipping his position in the previous year. This would be a huge gamble because three quarterbacks on roster can quickly turn into one quarterback on your roster with the transfer portal, but it’s an option.
3. Bank The Scholarship and Look for a One-Year Starter
I doubt this is the way forward for this staff, but it’s also an option. In theory, they could watch their quarterback competition behind Skylar all season, decide none of the three are ready and try and bring in an instant impact starter from the portal. Honestly, it could be an appealing spot for a high level transfer in 2022. The offensive line will be stacked, Deuce will be drawing a ton of attention, and the wide receiver position, barring attrition, should be well stocked.
4. Bank The Scholarship and Look for a Bounce Back 2021 Quarterback
I like this option. I don’t think the coaching staff will go this direction, but it’s something to consider. If they don’t fall in love with 2022 quarterback, waiting around to see what 2021 quarterbacks with freshman eligibility hit the portal is intriguing. In theory, it’s a wide open quarterback competition in Manhattan for 2023. That might be attractive to a 4* kid buried on a blue blood depth chart. Everyone says they don’t mind sitting and learning, but after spending a year sitting 4th on the depth chart and running the practice squad, with no clear path forward, things could change. This could especially be the case in 2022 with teams running into a log jam of freshman quarterbacks because of the extra COVID year.
There has to be a point where you look at your recruiting board and say “I don’t think these guys are good enough.” 2022 quarterback recruiting is a long way from that point, but a couple more misses could put the staff in a tough position. Do you take a guy you’re not sure about, or do you gamble on your ability to bring in better quality in the transfer portal?
This is a brave new world of recruiting, and teams that adjust their recruiting strategies accordingly could get a leg up on the competition. I’m interested to see what y’all think about this.