Delton stakes strong claim in quarterback conversation

Freshman quarterback Alex Delton celebrates after a touchdown during the K-State Spring Game at the Sporting Park in Kansas City on April 25, 2015. (File Photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

After two seasons under the guiding hand of quarterback Jake Waters, a huge question mark looms for K-State’s next quarterback.

This is especially evident after sophomore Jesse Ertz and junior Joe Hubener proved less than stellar in K-State’s annual Purple/White Spring Game on April 25.

Hubener had arguably the most mediocre performance of any of the quarterbacks, throwing 7-19 for 67 yards. On the other hand, while Ertz’s numbers weren’t so hot either — 9-15 for 159 yards — the sophomore seemed to have better control in and around the pocket.

In the end, it wasn’t either of these two quarterbacks who caught the attention of head coach Bill Snyder. That honor goes to freshman Alex Delton. While Delton’s passing stats — 4-13 for 26 yards — weren’t anything to gawk over, his legs had the sold-out Sporting Park crowd on their feet on several occasions.

Under the center for the white (second) team, Delton had the squad looking like a well-oiled machine compared to how it looked when Hubener was leading the squad. Between Delton’s ability to air the ball out or find holes in the defense for a scramble upfield, the young talent showed the coaches and fans what he is capable of.

“Alex (Delton) did well. He did not get off to a great start his first time on the field, but after he got the opportunity to be out there his first time in front of a crowd,” Snyder said after the game. “He finished the rest of the game, three quarters of it, pretty well. I think it was significant, I wanted to see him with the ones, so obviously they did well.”

Delton’s ability to run with the ball is the staple of a system Snyder has built in his long career with the Wildcats. If that isn’t enough, Delton has shown that he has the intangibles for the position, so much so that his head coach has compared him to former K-State great Ell Roberson’s freshman year.

If you don’t remember Roberson, he led the Wildcats from 1999-2003, amassing over 2,800 yards on the ground while passing for over 5,000 yards. Roberson helped K-State capture its first Big 12 Championship in 2003.

For now, or at least for a few more months, the debate will continue. Can Delton take the next step and become Waters’ successor? Will he be a back up this season? Or will Snyder preserve Delton’s redshirt.

At the moment, the freshman just wants to become the best player he can become.

“I am going into this upcoming season and spring being the best player and teammate that I can be,” Delton said. “Obviously, coach Snyder has said some nice things about me, but he would say the same things about any other quarterback that is in the position that I am. At this point, I am just working everyday to be the best player and teammate that I can be.”