NOTE: Kansas State has elected to advance players’ classification even though the 2020 season did not affect eligibility. Those who wish to take advantage of this extra year will be listed as a (“super”) senior again after their original eligibility would have been exhausted.
Goal No. 7: GREAT EFFORT.
Redshirt Super Senior | 6-2 | 220 lbs. | Independence, Missouri
- Position: Quarterback
- Previous College: None
- Projection: Unquestioned Starter
- Status: On Scholarship
Skylar John Thompson (b. June 4, 1997) is a veteran quarterback with a big arm who enters his last hurrah in 2021 as a career 30-game starter, which is the third most among K-State quarterbacks since 1990.
Thompson enters his second senior campaign ranked in the top 10 in school history in 15 career categories, including the top mark in interception percentage (1.84), ranking third in yards per completion (12.87); fifth in completions (390), passing efficiency (136.01), rushing yards (1,083) and rushing touchdowns (22) by a quarterback; and seventh in passing yards (5,201) and passing touchdowns (30).
He is just the second player in school history (Ell Roberson being the other) to throw for 5,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a career, and this year he can realistically become the first quarterback in school history to pass for 6,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards.
Thompson has engineered five career touchdown drives — 2017 at Texas Tech and against Iowa State; 2019 at Mississippi State and against TCU; and 2020 at Oklahoma — in the fourth quarter to tie or take the lead, the second most by a K-State signal-caller since 1990.
He enters the 2021 season tied for third nationally among active quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns and also is ranked eighth in Big 12 Conference history in interception percentage, while he is 24th in yards per completion.
Thompson, who became just the second player in school history to reach 2,000 career passing yards prior to the end of his sophomore season and now has been voted a team co-captain for the fourth straight season, was one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the Class of 2016 when he graduated early and enrolled at K-State in January 2016.
He shined on the scout team during his redshirt season in 2016 and was a co-winner of the team’s Red Raider Award as the top contributor on the scout team.
In 2017, Thompson became just the second freshman quarterback to start under Bill Snyder (the other, for the trivia inclined, was Allan Evridge, but that didn’t go nearly so well). For more feel-goods about this success story, read this wonderful piece by Kellis Robinett.
He helped to lead K-State to significant wins down the stretch run of 2017 and competed heatedly with former quarterback Alex Delton for the starting nod under center as a sophomore in 2018. Once he earned the job outright, Thompson never once looked back.
He played in eight games in 2017, including starts in each of the final four contests, and threw for 689 yards and five touchdowns on 51-of-83 aim while rushing for 237 yards and another three scores as he earned votes for Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.
Thompson also tied for third in school history in passing touchdowns among freshmen, while he had the fourth-most passing yards by a freshman in school history.
He had his best game of the year at the most important time as he led K-State to an improbable win at No. 10 Oklahoma State, when he threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns on 10-of-13 accuracy. (Fun fact: He has beat either OU or OSU every season.)
With the help of Byron Pringle, Thompson earned a passer efficiency rating of 284.9 against the Cowboys, the fourth-highest mark in school history and the highest ever by a freshman.
He also rushed for 93 yards and another score at OSU, and he was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and a Manning Award Star of the Week.
Thompson also earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week accolades as he led K-State to a win over Iowa State, throwing a game-winning touchdown pass on the final play of regulation.
He had 124 of his 152 passing yards against the Cyclones in the fourth quarter after K-State trailed by 12 points with 13:46 left in the game.
Continuing the comeback theme, Thompson accounted for two touchdowns and threw for a two-point conversion in the second half and overtime at Texas Tech, leading the Wildcats to the largest fourth-quarter deficit they’ve ever overcome in a road game in school history.
Thompson then played in 11 games in 2018, with 10 starts, throwing for 1,391 yards and nine touchdowns on 122-of-208 aim with just four interceptions. He also added 373 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 105 carries.
Thompson finished the year ranked seventh in the Big 12 Conference in total offense (160.4 yards per game) and passing efficiency (125.3). He threw for a career-best 213 yards on two occasions, against UTSA and Texas Tech.
Despite the disappointing end result, Thompson set career highs in completions (18) and attempts (27) at Iowa State, while he also tied his career high in touchdown passes (3).
He recorded a two-touchdown game against UTSA and rushed for a season-high 80 yards against Oklahoma State, a week after tallying a career-long rush of 52 yards at Baylor.
Thompson started all 13 games in 2019, throwing for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns on 177-of-297 (59.6%) aim with just five interceptions, while he rushed for 405 yards and 11 touchdowns on 114 carries.
He picked up honorable mention All-Big 12 accolades from the league’s coaches, the first K-State signal caller to earn such an all-conference coaches’ honor since Jake Waters in 2014.
Thompson finished 10th in K-State history in single-season completions in 2019, while he tied for 10th in touchdowns responsible for (23), had the fifth-most passing yards among juniors in school history and finished 12th overall in single-season passing yards.
He finished sixth in the Big 12 in scoring among non-kickers (5.1 points per game), and tied for eighth nationally and second among Big 12 quarterbacks with 11 rushing touchdowns.
Thompson had seven rushing scores over a two-game stretch against No. 5 Oklahoma and Kansas, the most by a K-State quarterback over a two-game span since Collin Klein in 2012.
He had four rushing scores against the Sooners, tied for the third most in a game in school history and the fourth most among all players in the nation in 2019, and also threw for 213 yards on 18-of-28 aim against the Sooners as he earned Maxwell Award Player of the Week, Davey O’Brien Award Great 8 List and Manning Award Star of the Week accolades.
Thompson then rushed for 127 yards at Kansas, becoming the first K-State signal caller with a 100-yard rushing game since Alex Delton in the 2017 Cactus Bowl, while he was the first player with at least 100 rushing yards and 100 passing yards in the same game since Delton did it against Oklahoma in 2017.
He set a career high for passing yards (299) and total offense (318) against West Virginia — the most by a Wildcat since Jesse Ertz against Central Arkansas in 2017 (368) and the most in a Big 12 game since Ertz at TCU in 2016 (329) — and also set career highs for completions (24) and attempts (39) against the Mountaineers in an otherwise forgettable home defeat.
Thompson had a career-long pass of 70 yards at Texas; accounted for 91 yards on a 95-yard, game-winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter against TCU, which included a career-long rush of 61 yards; and was named K-State’s Offensive MVP for the Liberty Bowl.
He then started each of the first three games in 2020 before an injury ended his season.
Thompson threw for 626 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions on 40-of-64 (62.5%) aim, while he rushed 19 times for 38 yards and three scores.
Prior to his untimely shoulder injury, he led K-State to a 21-point comeback victory — tied for the largest in school history — at No. 3 Oklahoma, the Wildcats’ first-ever road win over a team ranked in the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Thompson thus became the first starting quarterback to win consecutive starts against Oklahoma since Baylor’s Bryce Petty in 2013 and 2014, while he was the first to do so against top-five Sooners teams since Oklahoma State’s Josh Fields in 2001 and 2002.
He set a career high with 344 passing yards against the Sooners, while his 13.36 yards per attempt set the school’s single-game record (with a minimum of 25 attempts).
Thompson’s 18.56 yards per completion at Oklahoma ranked second in school history among quarterbacks to complete 18 to 21 passes in a game and he tossed a 78-yard pass in the contest, the 15th-longest pass in school history and the longest by a Wildcat since 2017.
His 334 passing yards were the most by a Wildcat since the 2015 Alamo Bowl (after the 2014 season) and the most in a Big 12 game since 2014 at West Virginia (Jake Waters, 400 yards).
For his herculean effort in Norman, Thompson was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week and a Davey O’Brien Award Great 8 Quarterback after his performance against the Sooners. He also picked up first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors following the season.
He entered both 2020 and 2021 as a member of the Manning Award, Maxwell Award and Wuerffel Trophy watch lists after earning his bachelor’s degree in management in May 2019, and has added to that esteemed roundup of preseason quarterback honors his entries on the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Senior Bowl watch lists entering this season.
A three-year starter at Fort Osage High School under head coach Ryan Schartz, Thompson was regarded as one of the top 250 players in the class of 2016 by Rivals, while the recruiting service also rated him the seventh-best dual-threat quarterback in the nation and the No. 2 prospect in the state of Missouri.
He was ranked as the 32nd-best dual-threat quarterback by ESPN and the 65th-best overall by Scout, named the 2015 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year and Simone Award winner as the most outstanding football player in the Kansas City metropolitan area, and also was a finalist for the award in 2014, while he is a two-time member of the All-Simone team.
Thompson was a two-time first-team all-state selection by the Missouri Football Coaches Association who also was selected to the USA Today Sports/American Family Insurance All-USA Missouri Team as a senior, while the organization selected him as the offensive player of the year.
He led the Indians to a 13-1 record and the Missouri Class 5 state championship in 2015 as he threw for 2,112 yards and 25 touchdowns, with just three interceptions, on 138-of-204 passing (67.7 percent).
Thompson also rushed for 1,092 yards and 19 touchdowns on 188 carries, and set a state championship game record in the Indians’ 63-28 win over Chaminade, as he accounted for 455 yards of total offense, completing 13 of 15 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 202 yards and three scores.
He threw for 2,385 yards and 24 touchdowns to just six interceptions as a junior in 2014, while rushing for 461 yards and nine touchdowns, and also played basketball, earning second-team all-state honors as a sophomore.
Thompson currently is working on his master’s degree in academic advising, which should serve him well if he is not able to break into the National Football League after this year.