Kansas State added a new competitor to its already crowded quarterback race this week.
And the new competitor is looking forward to the challenge.
Jonathan Banks, a dual-threat quarterback from Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif., has spoken confidently about his future since orally committing to the Wildcats after one season of junior college football. He announced it on Twitter.
“I feel like Kansas State’s offense is a perfect fit for me,” Banks said in a phone interview. “I think I can get a lot of things done in it. They have three quarterbacks, but they really don’t have a guy yet. I feel like this will be the best situation for me, one where I can come in and compete right away.”
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Banks will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at K-State, and he is expected to be eligible to play this season. That means he will compete with sophomore Jesse Ertz, junior Joe Hubener and freshman Alex Delton for playing time once summer practices begin.
Ertz, Hubener and Delton spent spring practices vying to replace Jake Waters as K-State’s starting quarterback. All produced mixed results.
Ertz started the spring game with K-State’s top offense, but didn’t play well enough in the public setting to separate himself from Hubener or Delton. All three split snaps. Hubener served as the primary backup quarterback a year ago, while Delton looked sharp running in his spring debut. K-State coach Bill Snyder has made it clear he won’t choose a starter until the season opener against South Dakota approaches on Sept. 5.
It seems unlikely that a junior-college transfer could immediately challenge for a starting role given three months to learn Snyder’s offense, but it is not impossible.
At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Banks completed 140 of 235 passes last season for 1,992 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also rushed for 700 yards and 11 touchdowns on 131 carries, while leading his team to nine victories. He was named Offensive Player of the Year in the Northern California Football Conference.
That all came after Banks joined Contra Costa College the day before the season started.
“Beating out three quarterbacks that already know the system will be hard, but I have faced adversity before,” Banks said. “I came in here, missed a game and had a week to learn the playbook. There were four quarterbacks in front of me. It was hectic and it was hard, but I made it happen. I love competing.”
Banks, a Houston native, said he heard from several teams out of high school, including Mississippi, Iowa State and Boise State, but they wanted him to play receiver or defensive back. He insisted on staying at quarterback, and chose junior college.
In the past month, he said he heard from Utah, Kansas, Oregon State, San Jose State and California, but committed to K-State moments after the Wildcats offered a scholarship.
“The toughest thing about playing catch up, for me, will be getting in there and learning the system,” Banks said. “But once I learn it, I will have the highest expectations. I want to lead my team to a BCS bowl, nothing less.”