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2 DAYS TO 2023 KICKOFF: Jake Rubley

In which BracketCat counts down the second day until the 2023 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State quarterback Jake Rubley.

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#2 Jake Rubley
Sophomore quarterback Jake Rubley (2) finally saw the first action of his career in 2022, albeit under challenging circumstances as he relieved the injured Adrian Martinez and Will Howard in an eventual tough loss at TCU. Now he is in a stiff battle with freshman Avery Johnson to retain his No. 2 backup quarterback position this season...

Goal No. 2: UNSELFISHNESS. There is no “I” in TEAM.

#2 Jake Rubley

Redshirt Sophomore | 6-3 | 217 lbs. | Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Jake Rubley
Jake Rubley
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Quarterback
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Second-String
  • Status: On Scholarship

Jake Rubley (b. July 15, 2002) is a pro-style quarterback from Highlands Ranch High School in Colorado (with a tiny COVID detour) who was K-State’s biggest recruit since Jake Waters.

(This honor was since supplanted by Avery Johnson, who is pushing him for backup duties.)

Rubley redshirted in 2021 and did not see any game action, but he did finally see limited action in four games (including a tough loss at TCU) during the 2022 Big 12 Championship season, throwing for 42 yards on 4-of-5 aim and rushing six times for a total of 2 yards.

He was perfect on all four pass attempts against South Dakota, including an 18-yarder, and finished the season as a first-team Academic All-Big 12 performer.

Although Rubley is currently listed in an “OR” status as the second-string quarterback, the coaches may still want to preserve Johnson’s redshirt this season and only use him in times of need, so routine mop-up duty could fall to some combination of Rubley and Adryan Lara.

Rubley, who is majoring in business administration, played his first three years of high school for the Falcons under his head coach and father, T.J. Rubley, who played collegiately at Tulsa before being selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1992 NFL Draft.

Jake Rubley was rated as the 25th-best overall prospect in the Class of 2021 by ESPN, while the organization also rated him the third-best pocket passer in the class and the top overall prospect in Iowa, where he (very briefly) played as a senior due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was regarded as the 12th-best pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2021 by Rivals, while 247Sports rated him No. 22 after he threw for 3,892 yards and 39 touchdowns to go along with 269 rushing yards and seven scores during his career at Highlands Ranch High School.

Rubley was named to the 2020 Sports Illustrated All-America preseason watch list after he earned honorable mention all-state honors as a junior. He also competed in track.

When the state of Colorado shut down high school sports in 2020, Rubley’s dad moved him to Des Moines, Iowa, in a last-ditch effort to get his son on the field for his senior year.

Jake played two games as a senior at Valley High School in Des Moines, under head coach Gary Swenson, and threw for 356 yards and a touchdown on 33-of-57 aim for the Tigers.

After those two games, though, the state of Iowa ruled him ineligible and ended his prep career prematurely. Rubley enrolled early at K-State and arrived in time for spring practices.

(You can read more about that Iowa nonsense in this somewhat snarky and judgy column.)

Rubley picked K-State over a truly impressive set of Power Five scholarship offers from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida State, Iowa, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Northwestern, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

He also had Group of Five offers from Colorado State and Idaho, as well as interest from Air Force, Clemson and Notre Dame.

Rubley’s primary recruiters were current offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Collin Klein, as well as his predecessor as offensive coordinator, Courtney Messingham.

Plus, as head coach Chris Klieman explained, his commitment energized the entire class:

... He absolutely did a great job of trying to help out and reach out, and kids reached out to him. When you land someone of Jake’s caliber, people take notice, and it definitely helped us.

Klieman also addressed the narrowing gap between Rubley and Johnson on Tuesday:

Avery has done a really good job of being here in the spring and learning as much as he can and learning from Will and Rubley and had a really good fall camp — and so did Rubley. Jake missed a handful of days about a week ago that maybe gave Avery some more reps for us to see more and more of Avery, but then Rubley came back healthy and fresh the past few days and is doing some really good things.

A few weeks ago, Klein confirmed that Rubley “has had his best camp since he’s been here”:

He’s really growing and has grown in the understanding of the offense and is battling with Avery there. Obviously, it’s amazing — anymore it’s not necessarily a depth chart but it’s about having a true depth that’s able to play, heaven forbid anything happen like some of the things we’ve experienced.

This assessment also was echoed by starting quarterback Will Howard, who would know:

Jake’s just gotten better every year since he’s been here. You can tell the game is slowing down for him a little bit. He’s always been able to make really good throws. It’s more the decision making, and he’s continuing to make strides in that.

His father, T.J., ranks fourth in Tulsa history in passing yards, total offense and passing touchdowns for a career, and was inducted into the Tulsa Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.

T.J. Rubley also played in 10 career games with seven starts in two NFL seasons with the Rams and Green Bay Packers.

Jake’s older brother, Ryan, also played football at Tulsa and later at Augustana College.