Let the competition begin.
For the first time in two years Kansas State will enter spring ball with no clear favorite at quarterback.
Collin Klein is gone and now it’s up to Daniel Sams and Jake Waters to fill the huge void left by the record-setting Heisman Trophy finalist.
Sams will be a sophomore next season after serving as the Wildcats’ backup this year, while Waters will be in his first year at K-State after signing in December out of Iowa Western Community College.
K-State coach Bill Snyder said Wednesday it’s his hope that Waters and Sams push each other for the starting job.
“It’s really significant and important and will certainly enhance Daniel’s play and vice versa,” Snyder said. “We’re hoping it becomes a very competitive environment. I have no reason to believe that it won’t. The greater competition you have at any position probably the better the opportunity for young people to improve their performance and feel compelled to do so and committed to do so.”
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Waters is one of 32 new Wildcats announced Wednesday — 26 from the high school ranks and six from junior colleges — who make up the 2013 recruiting class.
The NJCAA Player of the Year, Waters completed better than 73 percent of his passes for 3,501 yards and 39 touchdowns, while throwing just three interceptions. He’s one of three players from the juco national champion Reivers to sign at K-State in this class — joining defensive end Devon Nash and defensive back Travis Green, both of whom are on campus this semester.
Waters was primarily a pocket passer at Iowa Western, but has shown the ability to run the ball, something he’ll be called on to do here in the Wildcats’ offense. Sams was 6 of 8 passing for 55 yards, while rushing 23 times for 235 yards and three scores as a backup to Klein.
Sams welcomes the competition this spring.
“I’m not against that,” Sams said this past December. “I don’t have anything to do with recruiting, but I feel competition will always make this team better. I didn’t want the position handed to me anyway — I feel I would have gotten complacent. I’m fine with somebody coming in, competing for the job.”
What will help the development of both QBs is that Waters is already on campus and will likely quarterback one of the squads during the spring game. It was the most perfect scenario Snyder said he could have hoped for in trying to replace a quarterback, while trying to facilitate a competition.
“To have him here right now, so that he’s going through the out-of-season program and has a chance to go out and throw and catch with the other quarterbacks and receivers… gives you a chance to create the competition at an earlier point.”
Snyder hopes to see this spring what he saw from the get-go with Waters during the recruitment process.
“What impressed me was that you could see some of the leadership aspect, that there is a command presence there, that he has the ability to run around with the football and you can see he’s pretty efficient about throwing the football and where he throws it and has pretty good accuracy,” he said.
“He’s an awfully good young person, been a good student, the people at his community college speak very highly of him in regards to his leadership capacity and of course the physical skills he possesses.”