It Is Indisputable That Will Howard Is One Of The Best Quarterbacks In K-State History

It Is Indisputable That Will Howard Is One Of The Best Quarterbacks In K-State History

Quarterback Will Howard broke the K-State career record for touchdown passes in the Wildcats’ 59-25 victory over the Baylor Bears on Saturday. It is quite an accomplishment for the somewhat maligned starting quarterback. A portion of the fanbase wanted him benched earlier in the season for freshman Avery Johnson because he was struggling, but Howard has turned things around in a big way.

If you ask any diehard K-State fan who they think is the best quarterback in program history, 95% or more would likely say Michael Bishop. Seeing Howard break the career touchdown pass mark had me wondering if we are actually witnessing one of the best quarterbacks in K-State history play right now and not even realizing it. The fact of the matter is that Howard has been on a slow roll upward in the K-State record books and many do not even know it.

While K-State fans are in agreement about Michael Bishop being the program’s all-time best quarterback, what if you asked them to name their top five? Lynn Dickey? Steve Grogan? Ell Roberson? Jonathan Beasley? Josh Freeman? Collin Klein? Jake Waters? Skylar Thompson? All would likely be mentioned, and I am sure I have forgotten some. That is eight players that people would likely mention before Will Howard. But should they? I looked at where Howard ranks in the record books and he is right up there or above some of the best quarterbacks in Wildcat history.

To be fair, Howard does have an advantage in some categories that other quarterbacks did not have. True freshmen used to not play much, if at all, until recently. Heck, Howard had eight of his touchdown passes his freshman year at K-State. Most of the quarterbacks under Bill Snyder were two-year starters at best. Bishop was a Juco transfer. Jonathan Beasley and Ell Roberson were four-year players, but only played sparingly in their first two years. Josh Freeman left early for the NFL. And on and on. So, with still at least a few games left in his career, where does Howard rank compared to the other great K-State quarterbacks? Here are the key statistics of the top 10 touchdown throwers in K-State history…

Will Howard

Years: 4
Career touchdown passes: 45
Average touchdown passes per season: 11
Interceptions: 23
Completion Percentage: 59.5
Yards: 5,333
Yards per attempt: 7.5
Rating: 137.4
Career rushing yards: 865
Career rushing touchdowns: 18

Josh Freeman

Years: 3
Career touchdown passes: 44
Average touchdown passes per season: 15
Interceptions: 34
Completion Percentage: 59.1
Yards: 8,078
Yards per attempt: 7.0
Rating: 124.7
Career rushing yards: 343
Career rushing touchdowns: 20

Skylar Thompson

Years: 5
Touchdown passes: 42
Average touchdown passes per season: 8.4
Interceptions: 16
Completion Percentage: 62.4
Yards: 7,134
Yards per attempt: 8.1
Rating: 142.1
Career rushing yards: 1,087
Career rushing touchdowns: 26

Jake Waters

Years: 2
Touchdown passes: 40
Average touchdown passes per season: 20
Interceptions: 16
Completion Percentage: 64.1
Yards: 5,970
Yards per attempt: 9.1
Rating: 155.6
Career rushing yards: 796
Career rushing touchdowns: 15

Note: Jake Waters is the most underrated quarterback in K-State history. The guy is near the top in every statistical category despite only being at K-State for two years.

Ell Roberson

Years: 4
Touchdown passes: 37
Average touchdown passes per season: 9.25
Interceptions: 26
Completion Percentage: 48.9
Yards: 5,099
Yards per attempt: 8.1
Rating: 128.3
Career rushing yards: 2,818
Career rushing touchdowns: 40

Michael Bishop

Years: 2
Touchdown passes: 36
Average touchdown passes per season: 18
Interceptions: 13
Completion Percentage: 50.8
Yards: 4,401
Yards per attempt: 9.2
Rating: 147.2
Career rushing yards: 1,314
Career rushing touchdowns: 23

Chad May

Years: 2
Touchdown passes: 34
Average touchdown passes per season: 17
Interceptions: 16
Completion Percentage: 56
Yards: 5,253
Yards per attempt: 7.6
Rating: 131.8
Career rushing yards: -362
Career rushing touchdowns: 10

Jonathan Beasley

Years: 4
Touchdown passes: 33
Average touchdown passes per season: 8.25
Interceptions: 18
Completion Percentage: 47.6
Yards: 4,642
Yards per attempt: 8.5
Rating: 132.7
Career rushing yards: 965
Career rushing touchdowns: 26

Collin Klein

Years: 4
TD: 30
Average touchdown passes per season: 7.5
Interceptions: 15
Completion Percentage: 61.3
Yards: 4,724
Yards per attempt: 7.8
Rating: 138.4
Career rushing yards: 2,485
Career rushing touchdowns: 56

Lynn Dickey

Years: 3
Touchdown passes: 29
Average touchdown passes per season: 9.67
Interceptions: 64
Completion Percentage: 50.4
Yards: 6,208
Yards per attempt: 6.2
Rating: 99.6
Career rushing yards: -429
Career rushing touchdowns: 4

Brian Kavanaugh

Years: 4
Touchdown passes: 25
Average touchdown passes per season: 6.25
Interceptions: 7
Completion Percentage: 58.9
Yards: 2,352
Yards per attempt: 6.8
Rating: 135.4
Career rushing yards: -301
Career rushing touchdowns: 5

Now that I got all of that out on the table, here is the leader in each category….

Touchdowns – Will Howard 45
Average touchdown passes per season – Jake Waters 20
Interceptions – Lynn Dickey 64
Completion percentage – Jake Waters 64.1
Yards – Josh Freeman 8,078
Yards per attempt – Michael Bishop 9.2
Quarterback rating – Jake Waters 155.6
Career rushing yards – Ell Roberson 2,818
Career rushing touchdowns – Collin Klein 56

Here is where Will Howard ranks in each category after last Saturday’s Baylor game.

Total offense – 6th

Josh Freeman 8,421
Skylar Thompson 8,221
Ell Roberson 7,917
Collin Klein 7,209
Jake Waters 6,766
Will Howard 6,198

Touchdown passes – 1st

Will Howard 45
Josh Freeman 44
Skylar Thompson 44
Jake Waters 40
Ell Roberson 37

Quarterback Rating – 6th

Jake Waters 155.6
Matt Miller 152.6
Michael Bishop 147.6
Skylar Thompson 142.1
Collin Klein 138.4
Will Howard 137.4

Career completion percentage – 5th

Jake Waters 64.08
Carson Coffman 63.38
Skylar Thompson 62.37
Collin Klein 61.26
Will Howard 59.5

Career Yards – 5th

Josh Freeman 8.078
Skylar Thompson 7,134
Lynn Dickey 6,208
Jake Waters 5,970
Will Howard 5,333

Rushing touchdowns – 7th

Collin Klein 56
Ell Roberson 40
Skylar Thompson 26
Jonathan Beasley 26
Michael Bishop 23
Josh Freeman 20
Will Howard 18

While not considered a running quarterback, it is amazing that Howard ranks number seven in K-State history in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.

Rushing yards

Ell Roberson 2,818
Collin Klein 2,485
Jesse Ertz 1,399
Michael Bishop 1,314
Skylar Thompson 1,087
Jonathan Beasley 965
Will Howard 865

K-State only lists the top five quarterbacks for rushing yards, but Howard is not far behind on the list. If he has a few big runs in the last couple of games, he could move up the list even more.

The bottom line for me is that it is indisputable that Will Howard is one of the top five quarterbacks in K-State history. The numbers that he continues to put up are proving it. It is time for the naysayers to get off his back and to appreciate what they are watching. Avery Johnson will no doubt pave his way into the K-State record books, but he is the future. It is time to give Will Howard his props.


I would be remiss not to give my take on the Sunflower Showdown this week. K-State is a big favorite (a 10.5-point spread is the last I saw) and has the advantage in almost every statistical category. The only category that Kansas has the advantage in is pass defense, and they only give up 12 fewer passing yards per game on average than K-State. K-State should be able to move the ball on the ground and through the air enough to control the clock and keep KU’s offense off the field. I think the game will be close into the 4th quarter, and K-State will pull away with a late touchdown to win 40-28.

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