Kansas State spring game: What we learned

Kansas State closed out spring ball with its spring game over the weekend. Here's what we learned from it:

1. The Wildcats will be better at QB: K-State's quarterback battle looks like it will carry over into the fall, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Because it appears that whatever ultimately happens in this derby, the Wildcats are going to be much improved at the position from last year when they ended the season with receiver Kody Cook behind center. Jesse Ertz, named one of four captains after missing almost all of last year with a knee injury, showed command of the offense while completing 12 of 18 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt freshman Alex Delton, who was injured most of last season as well, threw for a smooth 139 yards while flashing speed. Even Joe Hubener, who filled in for Ertz and Delton in 2015 before losing the job to Cook, was sharp, connecting on 21 of 25 passes for 319 yards. None of the quarterbacks threw any picks, either. "About the time it looks like one of them is starting to inch ahead, all of a sudden somebody else steps up and makes some plays and does some things,” coach Bill Snyder said. "That happened again [in the spring game]."

2. Byron Pringle has the look of a No. 1: The highly touted junior college transfer had been generating buzz all spring, and he didn't disappoint in the spring game. Pringle finished with a scrimmage-high nine catches for 163 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown reception off a post route early on in the day. Quarterback wasn't the only reason the K-State passing game suffered last year. If the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Pringle turns out to be a viable go-to receiver, the Wildcats could feature one of the league's most improved passing attacks.

3. Pringle should have help: The Wildcats quietly have been encouraged by the development of their younger receivers, and that contingent also shined in the spring game. True freshman Corey Sutton hauled in a 29-yard catch along the sideline, then beat standout cornerback Duke Shelley for a 33-yard touchdown grab. Sophomore Zach Reuter and redshirt freshman Isaiah Zuber added three receptions apiece. And redshirt freshman Denzel Goolsby chipped in with a leaping 26-yard catch at the 1-yard line. Given what they showed Saturday, this figures to be a much deeper group than the one the Wildcats featured last season.

4. Dante Barnett is healthy again: He only had one tackle and didn't show up anywhere else in the box score. But after missing all of last year with a shoulder injury, the senior safety looked healthy again Saturday, if also a bit rusty. Barnett was a preseason All-Big 12 pick going into last year, and the glue of the K-State defense. If he proves to be the player he was two years ago, the Wildcats figure to be that much better defensively in 2016.

5. Running back could be by committee: The Wildcats didn't have a running back rank in the top 10 in rushing last season. Charles Jones returns as the starter, but K-State could take more of a committee approach this season if the spring game was any indication. Justin Silmon was the third running back onto the field Saturday, but he led the Wildcats with 85 yards rushing and two scores. Dalvin Warmack, who came on with some explosive moments in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl last year, added a 14-yard dash. Jones, meanwhile, was steady with 52 yards rushing and receiving to go along with a touchdown. All three backs bring something different to the table. Which is why all three could see plenty of time in the backfield.