After almost six months of practices, spring games and new arrivals into the competition it didn’t take long for K-State head coach Bill Snyder to officially announce his starting quarterback in Tuesday’s press conference. In fact, before the media could ask any questions it was Snyder who answered the biggest one of all, who would be his starting quarterback.
“Jesse evolved to the top of the race.” Snyder said. “I think it was a consistency factor across the board. From A to Z, name the position, we have had inconsistency throughout our preparation. I think Jesse, from that group of players, performed with greater consistency throughout that time than any of the others did.”
Ertz will be making his first career start on Saturday night as the Wildcats face off against the South Dakota Coyotes at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The sophomore from Burlington, Iowa beat newcomers Alex Delton, Jonathan Banks and returning quarterback Joe Hubener.
For his career, Ertz has rushed for 46 yards on the ground; however Saturday’s game will be the first time Ertz will throw a pass in a Wildcat uniform.
“I’m very happy to be here, very lucky to be in the position I’m in.” Ertz said. “I’m excited, you know it’s hard to not have a little bit of nerves just cause it’s been so long since the last time I’ve played but I’m happy and lucky to be in the position I’m in.”
Even before stepping foot in Manhattan, Ertz was a highly decorated quarterback from the state of Iowa. In 2012, he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year and put together over 9,000 total yards and 130 touchdowns over his two year career at Mediapolis High School.
However, Ertz’s road to this moment has been filled with ups and downs over the last few months, after appearing as the clubhouse leader for the starting job in the spring, Ertz struggled in the spring game by throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown on his first pass attempt of the afternoon in Kansas City.
Following his nine for 15 effort in the spring game, a newcomer was inserted into the “Wildcat Quarterback Derby” in the form of California junior college transfer Jonathan Banks.
“Jonathan, as true with all of the young freshmen we have in our program it’s their option as to whether they redshirt or not and through much deliberation chose to do that,” Snyder said.
In Tuesday’s press conference it was also announced that newcomer Alex Delton will continue to compete with Joe Hubener for the number two spot coming into Saturday’s matchup with South Dakota.
Hubener is currently the only quarterback who’s thrown a pass while in a Wildcat uniform in a regular season game, however, it will be Ertz who is the man under center and all eyes will be on him come Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
“You work so hard and for so long to achieve this position and you definetly get at lot of satisfaction out of it, you look at it as work and this is not the end or anything like that,” Ertz said. “I’m just looking at my opponents and preparing and just keep moving forward.”