Kansas State University

K-State’s 3-0 start has Wildcats’ quarterbacks, both present and future, fired up

Over the past 10 years, Kansas State has never signed a football player out of Pennsylvania, but it is lined up to in its 2020 class.

Maybe more important, he is a quarterback.

Will Howard, who is verbally committed to the Wildcats, said he has been watching every Saturday. He likes what he sees.

“But I’m not surprised at all,” Howard said.

Howard isn’t alone.

K-State is off to its first 3-0 start since 2015, and Chris Klieman is just the 11th coach in the past five years to win his first three games at a Power Five school. That has junior starting quarterback Skylar Thompson hyped for the future.

“There is not a lot that needs to be said,” Thompson said. “All you need to do is just open your eyes and look at what we’re doing. It’s special what we’re doing around here, and it needs to be taken notice by people.”

Thompson said it’s just the beginning. Through Thompson’s three games and Howard’s four at Downingtown West High School, the stats are similar.

Thompson averages 162 passing yards per game. Howard is at 189. Howard has five more touchdown passes. Howard averages 18.75 attempts per game. Thompson is at 17.67.

Howard said offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham’s system fits him perfectly. And watching Thompson do his thing every Saturday this year has been inspiring.

“After the year they had last year and with a new coaching staff coming in, there was some uncertainty there, but like I said, I’m not surprised with the success they’re having,” Howard said.

Howard is the lone quarterback verbally committed to the 2020 class and Klieman’s second quarterback at K-State. Howard also held offers from Kansas, Minnesota, Maryland and others.

He said though he will be 1,300 miles away from home, Klieman made it feel like Downingtown.

“In all my talks with him, I know he wants what’s best for me,” Howard said. “My family and I believe they were one of the most genuine coaching staffs if not the most genuine coaching staff to work with throughout the whole recruiting process.

“I just feel like it’s a match made in heaven.”

Thompson said one of the things that stands out about Klieman and his staff is it doesn’t matter how old you are. If a recruit comes in, understands his role and executes, he is going to play, Thompson said.

Howard said Thompson was the one he felt he meshed the most with on his visits. Howard said he knew Thompson had a tough time finding his rhythm last year.

“But I’m super happy for him and the success he has found,” Howard said. “It is really cool to see the offense I was talking to Coach Mess about kind of go into effect.”

Thompson’s road to consistent playing time took years. Even just last year, he was splitting time with Alex Delton. Now he is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country. He said he has grown a lot at K-State and that it’s not a testament to himself but to the program.

Thompson said from Klieman to the people of Manhattan, “You’re not going to find much better.”

“If I was a recruit in high school, I would be chomping at the bit to play in a program like this,” Thompson said.

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