TCU players interact with fans during “Meet the Frogs”
He’s got experience. He’s got leadership abilities. And he’s got a competitive fire to prove people wrong.
“I feel like my best football is in front of me,” Delton said during a phone interview. “I haven’t touched the surface, battling injuries and things not going my way. But I feel equipped. I feel healthy. My mind is clear.
“I feel like TCU made a great choice offering me. I hope TCU fans are open to the whole deal because I’m going to do everything I can to put points on the board in my power as a quarterback. I’m going to prepare and work as hard as anyone. That’s my edge -- I’m going to try and outwork you.”
Delton is expected to arrive on campus Friday, and is ready to compete for the starting job. Flipping his commitment from UTEP, which is coached by Dana Dimel, his former offensive coordinator at K-State, wasn’t easy.
But the idea of playing in at another Big 12 school and competing for a starting job was simply too enticing to pass up.
“It was a tough decision,” said Delton, who plans to work on his master’s of liberal arts at TCU. “I’m very close to Coach Dimel. He’s a heckuva coach, better man. But TCU offered me an opportunity that I could not pass up.
“We have the talent, we have the guys, who can win. I’m excited. I think this will be my best year of college football.”
Delton grew up in Hays, Kansas, about an hour north of TCU coach Gary Patterson’s hometown of Rozel, Kansas. Delton came away impressed in his interactions with Patterson and the rest of the TCU coaching staff.
He talked with everyone from former quarterback Kenny Hill, a transfer himself who served as a student assistant last season, to offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie to offensive analyst Tony Savino.
“I feel comfortable with all these guys,” Delton said. “Not one person has said anything negative about Coach Cumbie, or any of them. They’re all standup guys and I trust them.
“And Coach Patterson and I ... we’re Western Kansas boys. I respect him for what he does. He’s a heckuva coach, a heckuva man. He’s a smart mind in the game of football. You can see how in-depth he goes with things and how his mindset is. I put all my trust in him. I believe in him.”
On the field, Delton is a dual-threat quarterback who rushed for eight touchdowns in 2017, but never won the full-time job at K-State. He played in 20 games, including six starts, over four seasons.
Delton played in seven games this past season, completing 55 percent of his passes (44 for 80) for 554 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Those numbers aren’t off the charts, but the hope is a change of offensive systems maximizes Delton’s abilities. K-State ran a pro-type power offense compared to TCU’s Air Raid under Cumbie.
“I would say that this offense is a great offense and is a great fit for me,” Delton said. “It enables me to show my passing skills and get the ball in play-makers hands. It also allows me to run the ball. It really is tailor-made for me. I’ve had great talks with Coach Cumbie and I’m extremely excited.”
Playing with standout wide receiver Jalen Reagor ranks among the top attractions for Delton.
Reagor is coming off a season in which he had 1,061 yards receiving on 72 catches with nine touchdowns. He put up those numbers despite TCU starting three different quarterbacks last year.
“Nine receiving touchdowns? I want to increase that number and I want to get him the ball as much as possible,” Delton said. “I’ll let him make plays. TCU has a lot of play-makers and I love the swag and burst they play with. They’ll make me look better than I am.
“They can make plays, taking a screen pass and scoring a touchdown. I’m confident in them already.”
Delton showed flashes throughout his K-State tenure, but has yet to put it all together for a full season. This is a guy who was named the 2017 Cactus Bowl (since re-named the Cheez-It Bowl) MVP when he came off the bench and rushed for 158 yards and three TDs in a win over UCLA.
If he can sustain that type of production for a full season, watch out.
“What I like about Delton is his athleticism,” said Jeremy Clark, recruiting expert and publisher of Horned Frog Blitz.
“Covering TCU as long as I have, I know Gary Patterson doesn’t like defending athletic quarterbacks that can run and Delton certainly fit that category when he was at Kansas State. I’m excited to see what he can bring to TCU’s offense.
“I know Sonny Cumbie spent hours watching Delton’s film from his Kansas State career and there is obviously something there that got him and Patterson excited enough to bring him in.”
Delton will compete for the starting job with Mike Collins, Justin Rogers and incoming freshman Max Duggan. Delton and Duggan are expected to get the majority of snaps this spring when practices start around the first week of March.
Delton will be ready, and will likely have asserted himself as a leader for next year’s team. Delton was one of K-State’s team captains last season along with standout offensive lineman Dalton Risner.
Risner had a message to TCU fans on his Twitter account when news broke of Delton joining the Frogs: “TCU is not only getting a great athlete, but a genuine leader, accountable teammate, loyal friend, and REAL human being!”
Said Delton: “I like to be a leader on and off the field. People know I’m all about business. I’m here to go to work every day. I’m not going to take days off. I would argue that I’m going to work harder than a lot of people. That’s how I lead.
“I think this can be a special year for us.”