The Kansas State Wildcats are known for two things; a legendary head coach in Bill Snyder, and a tougher than nails QB that refuses to quit.
Last season Jake Waters played through considerable shoulder pain as he led the Wildcats to a nine win season. Before Waters though, it was Collin Klein taking snaps under center for the Wildcats. Klein was known as a gamer that wasn’t afraid to take a hit, and he led K-State to an 11-win season in 2012 for a share of the Big 12 Title. Klein left after that season, and now Jake Waters is trying to make a go of it in the NFL. So all eyes are on Manhattan, KS; who’s going to be the next great QB for the Wildcats?
The leading candidate for the job, Joe Hubener, has the most experience. However the junior has never actually started at QB. Nor ever. Not even in high school!
“I have never started a game of high school football at quarterback, so this would be my first starting game as a quarterback,” Hubener told the Wichita Eagle. “That is something pretty huge for me. It is crazy.”
Hubener is a former walk-on from Cheyney High School, where he played defensive back, wide receiver, and quarterback. It’s that versatility that’s drawing comparisons to former QB Collin Klein.
“Joe is a guy who will lower his shoulder down and get that extra yard,” left tackle Cody Whitehair told the Wichita Eagle. “You want a guy who can do both [run and throw]. You don’t want a one-dimensional offense. That is what Coach Snyder stresses. He likes guys who are two-dimensional.”
Last season Hubener played six games behind Jake Waters, and went 9 of 17 for 235 yards with one touchdown and one interception on the season.
Hubener may be the early favorite, but he hasn’t earned the job just yet. Jesse Ertz is expected to put up a fight for the position. Ertz is another dual-threat QB. He saw limited playing time last season as a freshman, and after a full year with the playbook, he’s looking for a bigger role this season.
“It is definitely a lot more fun being in the mix and take competitive reps,” Ertz said. “Every time you are out there you know it really, really matters. I feel better than I ever have.”
In high school Ertz was one of the top QB’s in the state of Iowa. He set the state record for career touchdowns at 98, and ranked fifth in state history for career passing yardage with 7,317 yards!
Alex Delton is part of the 2015 recruiting class. he graduated early, and enrolled at K-State in January. The QB competition seems to be coming down to Hubener and Ertz, but Delton has Coach Snyder’s attention nonetheless.
“I do not like to talk about a freshman, but he has caught our eye,” Snyder said. “I think he is going to be in the mix.”
Rated the 22nd best dual-threat QB in the nation by rivals, Delton is a 3-star pick up out of Hays, KS.
A starter probably won’t be named until later in the fall, but fans will get their first look at the QB’s during the Wildcat’s spring game on April 25th. One thing’s for certain though. Whoever is chosen to follow in the footsteps of Jake Waters and Colin Klein, they have some pretty big shoes to fill.
– Cover Photo Credit: Stephen F. Austin v Kansas State – Getty Images – Peter G Aiken