K-State camp battles to be settled
We're just over a week away from the 2019 season opening for Kansas State, and the Wildcats still have some camp battles to follow.
Let's take a look at perhaps the four most interesting competitions remaining and make a few predictions, as well.
Evan Curl vs. Josh Rivas
Four of the starters along the offensive line are going to be Scott Frantz and Nick Kaltmayer at the two tackle spots, Adam Holtorf at center and Tyler Mitchell at a guard position.
That fifth starter is still up in the air, however, and will come down to a battle between sophomore Josh Rivas and senior Evan Curl. Rivas played a significant amount of snaps last season (Curl did not) and is one of the more talented young linemen on the roster.
All of those snaps played last year, however, were for a different coaching staff in a different system. I think K-State sees Rivas as a long-term piece up front, but I also think they see Curl as the better player right now.
Game One Prediction: Evan Curl starts
James Gilbert vs. Jordon Brown
Yes, we know running back will be by committee and who starts may not be the most important thing in the world, but I do think it still matters which back the coaching staff decides to go with first.
I've long suspected North Carolina grad transfer Jordon Brown would be that guy, but I'm no longer very confident in that belief. K-State's staff has a lot of praise for the understanding James Gilbert has for the offense, and he's an underrated athlete, too.
Both are going to play, of course, but I'd be surprised at this point if it's anybody but Gilbert taking the first rep at tailback.
Game One Prediction: James Gilbert starts
Malik Knowles vs. Wykeen Gill
This is tricky, of course, since it's possible K-State would open up with a three wide-receiver set and both would start.
I don't even mean to suggest that Dalton Schoen is completely safe as a starter at wide receiver, but he's got to be for at least game one. Wykeen Gill was referenced as being the best receiver during spring football by Chris Klieman, but he may have come back to the pack some this camp.
I do believe Malik Knowles to have the highest ceiling of any receiver on the roster, and I think he's made enough of a push to be on the field immediately.
Game One Prediction: Malik Knowles starts
Nick Ast vs. John Holcombe
As recently as Big 12 Media Days Klieman said John Holcombe would "probably" be the No. 2 quarterback, but ever since that point sophomore Nick Ast has come on strong.
The 6-foot-5 walk-on is often praised for putting in as much film study as anybody on the roster, and it's becoming increasingly clear how much faith the staff has in the former 100-meter hurdles state champion from Cimarron.
I do think this remains a battle for much of the season, and few are bigger fans of Holcombe's potential than I am, but my gut tells me they're probably close to settled on the backup to Skylar Thompson for game one.
Game One Prediction: Nick Ast is the No. 2 QB