As a general rule, Skylar Thompson avoids Twitter. For him, looking at social media regularly does more harm than good. Because of that, he admits he hadn’t seen the news that his former teammate and fellow quarterback, Alex Delton, left TCU last week.
After battling Delton for Kansas State’s starting job for the better part of a year and a half, Thompson admitted he was “definitely surprised” Delton no longer is a member of the Horned Frogs.
At this time, however, Delton the player is the last thing Thompson is thinking about.
“I’m more worried about Alex just as a person,” Thompson told The Mercury on Tuesday. “I can only imagine what I went through, and having to go through it again, I can see where he’s at.”
The two players swapped the starting job between themselves in the second half of the 2017 campaign and parts of last year. Thompson eventually prevailed and ascended to the top of the depth chart. After the retirement of Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder last December, Delton announced he was transferring from K-State. First, Delton was set to join former Wildcat offensive coordinator Dana Dimel at Texas-El Paso, where he’s now the head coach. Not long after, however, Delton audibled, announcing that he would join Big 12 rival TCU, eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer.
At the conference’s annual media days event, his new teammates lauded his leadership and how effortlessly he had ingrained himself into the Horned Frogs’ program. It paid off at the beginning of the season, as he started the first two games under center. But he then lost the job to freshman Max Duggan. From there, Delton’s playing time continued to decrease.
When Duggan went down with an injury against Oklahoma State on Nov. 2, Mike Collins entered the game instead of Delton.
That apparently was the final straw for Delton.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson acknowledged as much.
“I’m sure Alex (leaving) had a lot to do with when Mike went in the ballgame because we really just needed a pure thrower,” Patterson told reporters last week. “At the end of the day, I get all of it.
“The guy came here as a grad transfer, so obviously he would’ve liked to be the starter. Obviously he’d like to play more. Obviously he’d like to do all of that stuff.”
Delton hasn’t granted any interviews since news of his departure from TCU first surfaced. (The Mercury reached out to him Tuesday to no response.) The only public statement he’s made on the matter came in a text message he sent to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
He made it clear that he held no ill will toward Patterson, his teammates or the program.
“I’ll tell you that I have nothing but great things to say about TCU football, ‘Coach P’ (Patterson) and the future of TCU football,” Delton wrote. “‘Coach P’ is a phenomenal, top-notch head coach at a first-class program. Coach handles business the right way.
“Nothing but love and gratitude towards TCU and the people of Fort Worth.”
Thompson said he hasn’t reached out to Delton since last week. He doesn’t plan on it, either; Thompson said he didn’t “feel like it’s really my place to say anything,” because he doesn’t know all the details that went into Delton’s decision.
“I just personally hope that he’s doing well,” Thompson said. “As I’ve always said, I have nothing but respect for Alex. He’s always been great to me, supported me. More than anything, I just hope he’s doing well.”
Delton’s saga, Thompson said, is a microcosm of how difficult life can be for college athletes — especially at arguably the most scrutinized position in all of sports.
“It’s just crazy. I don’t think people from the outside looking in know what we go through sometimes (as football players), especially quarterbacks,” Thompson said. “So more than anything, I just hope he’s doing all right and that he’s happy. That’s what I’ve said from Day 1: I just hope he’s happy and that he’s doing all right.”