SE: Thompson Enjoying Climb from Scout Team, Excited for Spring Game

If becoming a great quarterback were comparable to climbing a mountain, Skylar Thompson would be the person who enjoyed the painstaking hike more than the view at the peak.  

He views every situation as a challenge, every challenge as a way to improve and every improvement as another step closer to the summit. 

“That’s the beauty in it,” said Thompson, a redshirt freshman for K-State. “If I were at the top of the mountain right now, what would be the fun in that?” 

Thompson first reported to K-State in the spring semester of 2016. He weighed in at about 185 pounds. This spring, the 6-foot-2 Wildcat said he weighs around 215 pounds, a 30-pound boost he never could have imagined while at Fort Osage High School in Independence, Missouri. 

“In high school I tried to put on weight and it just never worked out,” said Thompson, rated by Rivals as the nation’s seventh-best dual-threat quarterback in his class. “I was really kind of frustrated with it.” 

With a surge of resources made available to him at K-State, such as the Training Table at the West Stadium Center and a full-time sports nutritionist in Scott Trausch, Thompson said he was “packing on weight” before long. 

“After seeing results, seeing myself gain weight and progressing and getting better in that area, I just kept buying into it and kept following it,” he said. “This semester, I’ve felt a lot more comfortable in my body. I feel like I’ve got my quickness back and I feel pretty good running. It’s definitely a good weight and hopefully I can continue to kind of stack up a little bit, not too much, but try to fill out and get my body right for sure.”

Thompson consumed a lot of eggs, a high-protein food, in high school, but not nearly as many as he does now. With the help of his roommates, Denzel Goolsby and Johnathan Durham, Thompson’s household could quickly clean out a grocery store’s egg supply with their intake. 

“We kind of got into a thing where every night before we go to sleep, we eat like eight or nine, 10 eggs… a person,” said Thompson, who’s also cut out most unhealthy foods, like soda and candy, from his diet. “I just feel a lot better. I feel healthy, I feel good eating that way.” 

On the field, Thompson is transitioning from running the scout team to working into the mix of K-State’s actual offense. He’s even been afforded more live reps because of the absence of returning starter Jesse Ertz, who’s rehabbing from an injury. 

“It’s been a great opportunity and I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “I’m just trying to grow from it and trying to get better each and every day.”

Thompson attacked last year in a similar way. As a redshirt, he tried to make the most of his less-than-glorious role on the scout team. Whether he was asked to emulate Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph or Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight, Thompson strived to give K-State’s defense the best look possible. 

“That was my objective, to try to succeed at that role as much as I could and really help our defense out,” he said. “I think it’s benefitted me both on and off the field, seeing other offenses — how they work and schemed for us — really expanded my football IQ and I’m really thankful for that.”

Many people noticed Thompson’s efforts, too. He shared the team’s Red Raider Award, given to the team’s top contributor on scout team, with running back Tyler Burns. 

“I took a lot of pride in it. Everybody knows it’s not something you want to do every day,” Thompson said. “Getting beat up by Jordan Willis and Elijah Lee, it’s not that much fun for those guys, but I tried to do my best to rally those guys, get them excited about it, show leadership. This may not be what we want to do but this is going to benefit us in the long run.”

Thompson’s climb is far from over. He’s still adjusting to the speed and size of players at the Division I level, but said, “things are starting to slow down.” The playbook, which he said, “seemed like a foreign language at first,” has become less daunting with the countless repetitions he’s experienced. 

“Increasing my leadership ability, being more consistent with myself, making the right reads, still learning the offense and progressing with that. There’s tons of areas I need to and can get better at,” Thompson said. “It really excites me that I have a lot of areas I can improve in. I’m going to embrace that, put that plan together and I’m going to attack it, 100 percent, and put everything I’ve got into it.” 

While playing behind Ertz and also battling with a more experienced quarterback in redshirt sophomore Alex Delton for the second spot, Thompson said he needs no extra motivation and ignores external expectations as much as possible. He trusts his process, his plan and that the results that will follow.

“I’m a really competitive person. I’m going to be the best at whatever I do, whether that’s playing monopoly, checkers or whatever I’m doing that’s a game and involves a winning and a losing side,” he said. “I want to win, so I’m just going to do everything I can to keep progressing and just try to put myself in that position where I can be on the winning side of things.”

Thompson will get his first opportunity to do so front of fans in Saturday’s Purple/White Spring Game, which will start at 1:10 p.m., at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

“I’m excited to get in front of the fans here and, hopefully, show off my talents the best that I possibly can. Really, the atmosphere of K-State, the fans and the game day experience is something that I’ve always wanted to experience as a player who’s playing,” he said. “Last year, getting to run out in front of 55,000 people screaming was pretty incredible. To get the opportunity to step out and play in front these people for the first time, hopefully I give them what they want.”

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