Before they took the field for Saturday’s 24-17 victory over TCU on Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, all four of Kansas State’s team captains went out of their way to hug Alex Delton during the pregame coin toss.
A much larger group of K-State players lined up to do the same thing after the game ended.
Delton, a former K-State quarterback who is playing out his final season of college football for the Horned Frogs as a graduate transfer, is still very much respected in Manhattan even though he is now wearing a different uniform.
“It’s just mutual respect, man,” K-State senior safety Denzel Goolsby said. “When he was here, he was a great team leader and a great competitor. He was a great guy who gave everything to this program. I have all the respect in the world for a guy like that. He was a great person off the field, as well. Ton of respect for Delton, man. Hats off to him. We just wanted to show our respect for him after the game.”
The postgame handshakes and hugs from at least 25 former K-State teammates, which included several players saying they loved him, will probably make Delton’s return to Manhattan a memorable day for the Hays, Kan., native.
But it was a forgettable day on the field for him. Delton saw little action behind starting quarterback Max Duggan and led the TCU offense for only three plays.
During that time, he completed two passes for 6 yards and handed the ball off to one of his running backs. TCU went three-and-out and then punted.
TCU coach Gary Patterson said he wanted to use Delton in the first half, and that’s exactly what he did.
K-State players said they wish they could have gone against him a little more.
“We were talking on the sidelines, as defensive linemen, we’ve never been able to hit Alex before,” defensive tackle Jordan Mittie said. “We were kind of looking forward to that opportunity.”
Delton spent his first four seasons with the Wildcats, delivering highlight moments like a MVP performance in the 2017 Cactus Bowl and a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Kansas last season. But he transferred in search of extra playing time as a senior.
His former teammates clearly respected his decision and wish him well for the rest of the season.