When the arrival and immediate success of Avery Johnson in Manhattan sent incumbent starter Will Howard into the transfer portal — and subsequently to be the starter at Ohio State — it turned a lot of heads.
So much so that many folks expect Kansas State to follow up their 9-4 season with a second Big 12 title run in three years, which would be their best three-year stretch in well over a decade. With a quarterback who’s had just 66 passing attempts in his collegiate career, those are pretty high expectations.
However, that’s not the kind of thing that would rattle a player like Johnson. In fact, it’s those expectations and pressure that makes Johnson the player that he is.
In a recent interview with Glenn Kinley of KSNT News, the Wildcats’ new starting quarterback addressed how he handles pressure and stays poised in big moments, and his answer was quite spectacular.
“From a young age, my dad instilled confidence in myself and I wake up every day and tell myself I’m the best quarterback to ever play the game,” Johnson answered. “If you want to be the best, obviously, you have to train to be the best but it starts in your own mind. You have to tell yourself that you’re going to be the best and I feel like the confidence I have in myself and the teammates around me just allows me to go out there and play worry-free.”
That is certainly a confident freshman who will be headed into his first full season as a starter in 2024.
While it’s still early to see if that will be the case, Johnson will certainly get his chance to prove his supporters right as the Wildcats will have to fight off teams like Oklahoma State, Arizona, and Utah to win the Big 12 title in 2024 and claim an automatic bid to the 12-team College Football Playoff.
While that’s still quite a long time from now, it’s certainly fun to think about what could be brewing up in Manhattan, Kansas.