clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Position Group Breakdown: Quarterback

Everyone knows it’s Will Howard’s team this year, but what about the other guys?

NCAA Football: Big 12 Football Championship-Texas Christian at Kansas State Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This team will go as far as Will Howard can take them. For my money, quarterback is the most important single position in team sports, and K-State has a good one. Howard is a massive quarterback, but don’t let the size fool you, he’s a great athlete capable of escaping the pocket and making big plays with his legs. Consider him Josh Allen big and not Ben Roethlisberger big.

There is some exciting talent in reserve, and they’ll have their chance to shine later on down the line, but Howard is irreplaceable. That’s the case with most teams in the nation. If he remains healthy, I see him as a dark horse Heisman candidate. Not bad for a guy some folks wanted gone after early career struggles.


Will Howard - #18 - Sr. - 6’5”, 245

I’ve been a Howard believer longer than most. When I went back and watched film of his early career games, he normally makes the right decision, but tended to be a beat or two behind on his delivery. He was seeing the plays, but not fast enough. All of the physical skills, from a rocket arm to his surprising running ability were present.

Last season the game slowed down for him. He was making the right decision, and making it on time. You could see his confidence grow with each snap. His 296 yard, 4 touchdown game against Oklahoma State set the tone and he went onto prove it wasn’t a fluke.

One place I’ll be looking for improvement is his completion percentage. Outside of Baylor and West Virginia, where he completed 70% of his passes, all of his starts were in the 50% completion range. He’ll be working with a better receiving group this season, and I expect that number in the mid to upper 60s.

If Kansas State repeats as Big12 Champ, it’s because Howard had a breakout season. If that happens, I expect him to be an early draft pick. He’s got the physical upside NFL drool over.


Jake Rubley - #2 - So. - 6’3”, 220

I wonder what Rubley’s career looks like if he doesn’t lose his senior high school season to Covid. Missing an entire year of on-field development must have set him back some. Still, the former 4* signal caller has positioned himself as the Howard’s back-up. All the physical talent that made him a 4* recruit is still present. I look forward to seeing what he can do in mop up time while Howard puts his feet up on the bench after yet another stellar performance.

Things could get rocky if he’s called on for extended duty, but let’s not talk about that.

The Field

Adryan Lara - #7 - R-Fr. - 6’0”, 220

Lara, a former 3* prospect out of Arizona put up big numbers in high school. After redshirting last season, I expect him to be the 3rd quarterback on the depth chart. This season is all about positioning himself for the future. If he’s forced into action, things have gone terribly wrong.

Jacob Knuth - #21 - R-Fr. - 6’3”, 220

I was surprised Klieman pulled Knuth out of the transfer portal, but the former Gopher signal caller fits the mold of a Klieman quarterback. He’s built like a linebacker and is a plus athlete. He’ll run the scout team this year, but could factor into the future of the positon.

The Prodigy

Avery Johnson - #5 - Fr. - 6’2”, 190

Last but certainly not least, the 4* gunslinger out of Maize High School in Wichita could be one of the most important recruits in Coach Klieman’s career. Ranked inside the top 100 of the 2023 class, he’s the type of player people assumed was out of reach for Kansas State. Most assumed he’d end up Oklahoma, because that’s where elite players out of Kansas end up.

Instead, Coach Klein kept working on him and the dual threat stud listened. He’s the epitome of dual threat, capable of staying in the pocket and beating defenses with his rocket arm or getting outside the pocket and either making plays on run or making big plays with his legs. Then there is the swagger. He carries himself like a player that expects big plays every time he touches the ball.

Based on what I’ve heard from the coaches. He’s going to play this season. He has 4 games before he loses his redshirt, but when you’ve got a player with this much talent, you might not get that extra year at the back end anyway.

When he’s on the field, no matter the capacity, I’ll be on the edge of my seat.