Among the questions surrounding the Kansas State football program heading into the 2014 season is who is going to step in to help fill the void left by departing senior wide receiver Tramaine Thompson, opposite Tyler Lockett, this fall.
With Lockett out of Saturday’s spring game for precautionary measures, the door was open for other receivers to make an impression.
“I told the players, today is practice 15,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said. “It’s not just fun and games. Everybody has an opportunity to move up or down the depth chart on a daily basis.”
Senior quarterback Jake Waters returns off of a 2013 that saw him erupt down the stretch against TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas and Michigan — passing for 253 yards per game and 10 TDs to cement himself as the No. 1 QB heading into next season.
Considering that, the Wildcats looked to be more air-oriented than they’ve been in recent memory.
While the first-team All-Big 12 target in Lockett (81 rec, 1,262 yds, 11 TD) and fellow senior Curry Sexton (39 rec, 446 yds) are the most known commodities, there are a handful of others vying for a chance to shine next season.
K-State quarterbacks were a combined 46-of-67 passing Saturday with 29 of those completions finding 12 different receivers.
“They really did well,” said Sexton, who led all receivers with eight receptions for 88 yards. “That’s something that Coach (Andre) Coleman has told us since the first day he got here. ‘If you get in the game I expect the same from you as I would the No. 1 or No. 2 guy.’
“I’d say we probably have more depth at receiver than anywhere on the team. A lot of guys that are good players and really capable of helping the team.”
Among the fresh faces, Manhattan High product Deante Burton found a groove, hauling in six catches for 48 yards — including a 21-yard pickup midway through the fourth quarter.
“Some of those young guys — Judah (Jones), Collin (Sexton), Deante, Steven West did some good things,” Sexton said. “Which is good to see, but doesn’t surprise me.”
Jones, who also carried six times out of the backfield, had the highlight of the day on a 51-yard touchdown from Joe Hubener for the White team.
“I said at halftime, and I meant it, that I was pleased with the way that quite a few guys were playing on the White unit and based on what I saw with not seeing the tape some of the guys stood a decent chance of moving up,” Snyder said.
Daniel Sams, who is trying his hand at receiver this spring after earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors at quarterback last year, had two catches for 9 yards.
“It’s still a little different because we’ve only just started throwing together,” Waters said. “But we’re getting on the same page and making steps to do that. I’m definitely excited about it.”
Sexton said that Sams’ QB roots have been an asset as he transitions to the new position.
“Our offense is pretty complex,” he said. “To get on the same page with the entire offense, we’ll be like ‘what’s this running back doing here?’ That’s something that Daniel has really been able to help us with.”