Since arriving at Kansas State from Oregon last year, Wildcats coaches have only talked about Chris Harper as a wide receiver.
He has played that position exclusively this season, and with Brodrick Smith suffering a season-ending injury last week, odds are he will be called upon to catch passes more regularly in upcoming games.
But the Wichita native has a quarterback background. He threw passes at Oregon and in high school, and says he still lines up under center during practice.
“I play it all the time,” he said.
Should he be asked to take a few snaps at some point this season — whether it be in the Wildcat Formation, on a trick play or in relief of Carson Coffman — he said he will be ready.
“I’d welcome it,” he said. “Whatever. If you’re a playmaker you want the ball in your hands. That’s what I consider myself.”
K-State coach Bill Snyder has said Coffman will likely remain the Wildcats’ starting quarterback this week against Kansas, and has only played Collin Klein and Sammuel Lamur in backup duty.
So Harper may never be looked at as an option on every down, but it would be interesting to see him run the offense out of the Wildcat Formation instead of Daniel Thomas.
With Thomas taking snaps, K-State is limited to runs and short pass plays. Harper’s arm would stretch the field, and open up all kinds of possibilities.
The last time he consistently led an offense (during seven-on-seven drills when he first came to Manhattan) he recalls playing well.
“I was doing real good,” Harper said. “I was just playing around, and I said, “How about you let me go out there and try playing receiver?’ I did really good at that, too.”
That’s when wide receivers coach Michael Smith saw Harper’s talents, and said if he caught passes for him he would one day be able to play in the NFL.
“It just kinda happened,” Harper said. “It started as me just playing around, but turned into something serious.”
Perhaps his practice time at quarterback could do the same, and evolve into playing time during games.