Alex Delton spent last weekend at Kansas State on a recruiting visit. He was there with other commitments and prospects, and the Wildcats treated him like royalty.
Delton, a 6-foot, 195-pound dual-threat passer from Hays, committed to K-State in February, signed scholarship papers in the fall and is on track to enroll in January. He is way past caring about the red-carpet treatment. Instead, he liked meeting with academic counselors and K-State coaches. Together, they focused on the future.
“I spent a lot of time on the academic side of things and then learned new formations and offensive material from the coaches,” Delton said. “We were working ahead. I already consider myself a part of the team.”
It won’t be long before Delton officially becomes a Wildcat, entering the competition to succeed Jake Waters at the center of K-State’s huddle.
As the first commitment of K-State’s 2015 recruiting class, Delton has worked to establish himself as a leader throughout the past year. That meant taking summer classes and graduating from high school a semester early.
He wants to be at K-State for winter conditioning drills. He wants to be a part of spring practices and to be in the mix for playing time as a freshman. Most of all, he wants a head start.
“When I first committed, Coach (Bill) Snyder and I talked about the success he has had with quarterbacks coming in early,” Delton said. “He didn’t pressure me to do it. It was a decision I made with my family. At the quarterback position there is a lot to be learned.
“I don’t play winter sports, so I wouldn’t have been doing a whole lot my last semester of high school. I wanted to be at K-State, learning the offense, getting myself in better shape and starting to compete as a Wildcat.”
Competition will be abundant. Waters will play his final game in a K-State uniform at the Alamo Bowl, and there is no obvious quarterback to take his place.
Sophomore Joe Hubener has served as the backup this season, throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 142 and three touchdowns in limited action. But coaches are also high on redshirt freshman Jesse Ertz. Taylor Laird and Zach Davidson could also enter the mix.
Delton enters the mix as a wild card. He amassed nearly 3,000 total yards and scored 31 touchdowns as a senior for Hays. He is comfortable picking up first downs with his arm and his legs, and appears to fit the Snyder mold for quarterbacks.
Snyder rarely plays freshmen in major roles, but Delton is ready to give himself the opportunity to play right away.
“I will definitely go in at the bottom of the list and prove myself like any other quarterback would,” Delton said. “I am going in there to compete, but I think the coaches will evaluate all of us and make a decision that is best for the team.
“I’m not really putting my focus on that right now. I just want to go in there early, be the best teammate I can be and earn respect from the older guys.”
He knows what he will focus on when he arrives next month. The plan is already in place.
“I have been watching Coach Snyder’s offense for many, many years,” Delton said. “The quarterback in Bill Snyder’s offense, he’s the leader. He’s the key to the offense. You need the other 10 positions, and they are all real important, but he needs the quarterback to be consistent and not turn the ball over. He is the leader of the team and he does all the little things right.
“He puts in the extra study time, extra time as a thrower and extra time going over schemes. I want to stay humble and do those things. I’m really excited to get started.”