John Holcombe II’s time at Kansas State has come to an end.
Holcombe, who battled for the team’s backup quarterback spot alongside Nick Ast throughout the spring and preseason camp, announced Tuesday night that he was entering the NCAA’s transfer portal. Holcombe announced the news in a message posted on his personal Twitter account.
After thanking the Wildcats’ fan base, his coaches, fellow students and professors, Holcombe said he was departing Manhattan.
“I love each and every one of you dearly, but after careful consideration and many conversations with my family and some close friends, it saddens me to say that I will be entering the transfer portal,” Holcombe wrote. “You guys are amazing and I wish my brothers nothing but the best for the rest of this season, and will be happily cheering them on. (B)ut it is my time to part ways.”
one love ♥️ pic.twitter.com/IYfhuRrlyX— heath ledger🃏 (@jwholcombe3) October 2, 2019
Holcombe had played as recently as last week against Oklahoma State, taking snaps at quarterback and lining up at receiver. Holcombe did not attempt or catch a pass in the 26-13 loss to the Cowboys, but did carry one time for six yards.
During head coach Chris Klieman’s weekly press conference Tuesday, he praised Holcombe for how quickly he plays. And Klieman said the coaching staff was “excited” about watching how Holcombe could continue to grow in the team’s offense, which is in its first year under new coordinator Courtney Messingham.
“He gets off the football fast. He can block the point of attack,” Klieman said. “We put him at tight end during the week of practice, and he’s physical. He blocked the point of attack. He wants to be involved, and that’s a really good thing.”
That said, Klieman noted Holcombe still had much to learn “technique wise” about the tight end and flex positions.
“But he’s at least wanting to learn so that he can help our football team,” Klieman said. “So he’s doing some really good things. Now is he ready to play 60 snaps there? No. But we’re hopeful that the more he can understand, the more he can be out there.”
Holcombe’s time at quarterback last week didn’t come without issues. The Wildcats twice had to call timeouts after Holcombe came on the field for starter Skylar Thompson.
“I think one of them was read wrong on a wristband,” Klieman said. “(On) one of them, I don’t think we had the right personnel out there. There’s no question they were both supposed to be out there and we had miscommunication. It can’t happen though. We have to clean it up. It absolutely can’t happen.”
Holcombe didn’t see the field as a freshman in 2018, sitting out and redshirting. He became an Internet sensation this summer, however, after video of him dunking during a pick-up basketball game went viral on Twitter.
Holcombe leaves K-State having played in only three games. He went 1-for-3 through the air for 9 yards and added 71 yards on 13 carries on the ground.
All of his passing numbers and a majority of his rushing totals came in Week 2 against Bowling Green.
Reflecting upon Holcombe’s performance that day, Messingham was pleased.
“The biggest thing that he does is, when he plays, he plays hard,” Messingham said Sept. 12. “When he carries the football, he runs like a back. His ability to throw the football, his ability to get it out of his hand, I’ve been impressed with him and happy with how’s he played. ... But John’s obviously got a skill set a little bit different than the average guy, and he’s done a good job when he’s gotten his chances.”
Those future opportunities just won’t come as a member of the Wildcats.