Kansas State will have one less weapon at its disposal this fall.
Daniel Sams decision to leave KSU is a clear step backward for the Wildcats offense as the former quarterback turned receiver was one of the Big 12’s most explosive players. In 2013, he was a useful and versatile weapon, leading all Big 12 quarterbacks with 807 rushing yards, ranking No. 3 in the conference in Total QBR (83.4 on a scale of 100 with 50 being average) and tied for fifth in the Big 12 with 11 touchdowns.
This spring, Sams moved to receiver and failed to make a mark in the offense, likely sparking his plan to transfer. He had two receptions for 9 yards in the spring game.
Sams' transfer takes away options for Bill Snyder’s offense, a group searching for playmakers after the departures of running back John Hubert and receiver Tramaine Thompson. Even if Sams never found his footing at receiver this fall, he still could have been a valuable weapon as a Wildcat quarterback in short yardage situations and provided a quality safety net behind starting quarterback Jake Waters.
Redshirt freshman Jesse Ertz and sophomore Joe Hubener are battling to be Waters’ backup, leaving the Wildcats with inexperienced signal-callers behind their senior starter. Hubener played in one game last season with no pass attempts, while Ertz redshirted.
The Wildcats should be fine at receiver with Tyler Lockett, arguably the conference’s top receiver, and Curry Sexton, who brings veteran experience to the group. Deante Burton, Andre Davis and Judah Jones also could help fill the playmaking void in KSU’s passing game.
On the surface, Sams’ departure doesn’t look like a major setback as he saw limited action for KSU in the home stretch of the 2013 season, with just one pass attempt and nine carries for 23 yards in the final three games of the year.
But, make no mistake: Sams was one of KSU’s top 11 players on the offensive side of the ball. Snyder would have found a way to use him, even in special situations, to help the Wildcats create problems for defenses. Even though they have done it before, Sams’ big-play ability will be tough to replace and creates one more obstacle between the Wildcats and their hopes of winning their second Big 12 title in three seasons.