Though many predicted the late spring departure of Daniel Sams, few were thrilled with it. Entering the 2013 season as the fan favorite to win the starting quarterback position, he was quickly usurped by juco transer standout Jake Waters. Though certainly the more athletic of the two contendors, Jake Waters emerged as the stronger passer and ultimately gained favor with Bill Snyder to take most of the snaps. Daniel Sams’ transfer to NcNeese State removes any string of doubt that Jake Waters was the man for 2014, but it does add a discernable level of doubt as to the quarterback position for 2015.
Following Sams’ departure, Jesse Ertz was the odds on favorite to back up Jake Waters. Out of high school, Ertz is one of the more highly touted QB prospects K-State has landed. The Iowa Player of the Year, Parade All-American honorable mention prospect broke the state record for career touchdowns with 98 under his belt. We didn’t get to see Ertz in 2013 as he was redshirted to allow him time to heal up following a late high school injury. The potential is certainly there, but if you’re comfortable using a spring game as a barometer (and I’m not), his 9-13 for 43 yard performance leaves a lot to be desired. Joe Hubener also returns to the Wildcat roster. Like Ertz, the sophomore has never played in a game, and his ceiling may be lower than Ertz’s.
Enter Taylor Laird. Laird was an “out of nowhere” juco signing from Sacramento City College. Laird will join the Wildcat roster after redshirting his only season at Sacramento City, giving him four years of eligibility to play. What does this last minute signing mean? Well, it could mean that depth at quarterback is a bit of an issue with Sams’ now at McNeese State. It’s been said you can’t have too many servicable quarterbacks, and with no one with experience to back up Waters, having a few options certainly makes sense.
Snyder could also be looking ahead to 2015. After 2015, the aforementioned quarterbacks will be competing for the starting job, adding three star commit Alex Delton into the mix. Can Taylor Laird compete in 2015? Bill Snyder has certainly developed underrated prospects into all-stars before.
There’s one last possibility that keeps coming to mind. Taylor Laird is 6′ 4″, 230 pounds, and still runs a 4.7 40 yard dash. This is startlingly athletic for player of his stature. If things don’t pan out in the quarterback race, don’t be surprised to see him lining up at another position.