If you follow Daniel Sams on Twitter or Instagram, the news Kansas State Wildcats Head Coach Bill Snyder announced at his first spring press conference on Tuesday wasn’t much of a surprise.
Much to Snyder’s chagrin, all during the off season, Sams tipped his hand, posting numerous videos on social media of him running routes and catching passes as a wide receiver. But now it’s official. Sams is no longer practicing only at quarterback, he is catching passes from Jake Waters. It’s not only the best move for Sams, but also the best move for the team.
It’s a move that has a lot to do with how well Waters played at the end of the 2013 season, as well as the necessity to find a way to get an athlete like Sams on the field rather than holding a clipboard on the sideline.
This is the second time in Snyder’s second tenure as head coach that he’s allowed an elite athlete move from taking snaps under center to catching passes as a wide receiver
. Chris Harper transferred to K-State to play quarterback, but that didn’t last very long when Snyder realized what he had in Colin Klein. Harper turned into Klein’s favorite and most trusted receiver, and the duo helped lead K-State to 21 wins in their final two seasons as Wildcats.
Sams is probably a better quarterback than Harper ever was, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Sams returned to the position in his senior season once Waters graduates.
He earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 last year while starting exactly zero games at quarterback. He rushed for 807 yards and scored a team-high 11 touchdowns, all while completing 72% of his passes with four touchdowns.
There were times early last year that Sams was the better player than Waters, but it was obvious to anyone watching, including Sams, that it became Waters’ team as the season wore on.
Waters ability to throw the deep ball, helped him develop a relationship with All-American Tyler Lockett that was basically unstoppable. In the last four games of 2013, the Waters to Lockett connected 33 times for 560 yards and eight touchdowns.
It’s not the only reason Waters played the vast majority of the snaps at quarterback late in the season, but it was the most important one. Sams just isn’t the passer that Waters is and not having a quarterback on the field that can consistently find one of the best wide receivers in college football would mean the Wildcats aren’t giving themselves the best chance to win.
In 2014, Waters gives the Wildcats the best chance to win. In 2015, Sams very well could be that guy. But for the time being, wide receiver gives him the best shot to help the team.
Instead of having Sams play a handful of snaps every game (which he still might do in 2014 at times), the move to wide receiver makes tons of sense. Sams is a dynamic player with the ball in his hands, but a lot of the times last season when he entered the game, he was put at a disadvantage by the coaching staff.
It doesn’t matter how gifted a player is, when the defense knows you’re not going to throw the ball, it’s pretty easy to slow down an offense.
Playing wide receiver won’t be completely new to Sams. He split time between quarterback and receiver as a senior at Salmen High School in Louisiana.It was a senior year in which he was named to the All-Metro team in New Orleans, and Sams passed for 577 yards and seven touchdowns, caught 21 passes for 518 yards and nine scores, while and rushing for 579 yards and nine touchdowns on 56 carries.
All in all, he amassed over 3,000 all-purpose yards as a senior in high school.
With ability like that, Snyder had to come up with a way to get him on the field. It appears that receiver was the preference of Sams, and Snyder has agreed to give him a shot this spring.
With the graduation of Tramaine Thompson, there is a need at wide receiver for a playmaker. Someone to make the defense loosen its grip on Lockett. Sams is one of a handful a guys hoping to fill that role.
Nothing bad can come from this. If Sams struggles to adjust to the role, you move him back to quarterback and he can return to his customary 10 snaps a game. If he figures it out, he gives Waters and the Wildcats another dangerous weapon on offense.
He will no doubt have to work his way up the depth chart once fall practice starts. For the Wildcats to have the kind of success they are capable of in 2014, Sams needs to be on the field.
Something tells me he’ll make an impact no matter where lines up on the field. I bet he still sees plenty of snaps as a quarterback, running the ball and flipping an occasional pass to someone. Especially after positing this video on Instagram that shows him running a play as a quarterback, and it appears to be a from a recent scrimmage.
Come to think of it, if he keeps posting videos of practice videos on social media, he may be buried so deep in Snyder’s doghouse, that he never sees the field.