Delton makes it official - KSU
By AUSTIN COLBERT
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Alex Delton's parents became reluctant collectors over the past year. His father, Ricky Delton, amassed a large collection of T-shirts accumulated from visits to various universities across the country as Alex Delton was in the midst of his recruitment. His mother, Rhonda Dinkel, helped stockpile the hundreds and hundreds of letters he was receiving on a daily basis from schools like Tennessee, Missouri, Nebraska and Notre Dame.
But back in February this new hobby ran its course when Alex Delton, Hays High School's senior quarterback, made a commitment to play football for coach Bill Snyder and Kansas State University.
"No more long trips, not a lot of phone calls. Mail box can be empty now," Ricky Delton said. "I think he had his mind set. He came from his visit at K-State's camp and all he talked about was coach Snyder. 'Dad, you got to meet this guy.' ... When he is impressed, he's impressed."
Schools still recruited Delton after his verbal commitment to KSU, but the phone calls became fewer and fewer as he held fast to his word. Then came Thursday, when Delton signed his name to a financial aid agreement with K-State in front of roughly six dozen of his classmates, teachers, coaches and family members at the HHS cafeteria.
While it wasn't his official National Letter of Intent, which can't be signed until February, it was the first bit of paperwork officially linking Delton with the university he is going to call home for the next few years.
"It's stress off my shoulders to be officially a part of K-State," Alex Delton said. "It's good to have that off my back and to focus on my senior season at this point. I couldn't be happier with the program I signed to."
It was a rare early signing, one expedited by Delton's impending December graduation. He enrolled in extra classes and has been cleared by the high school to graduate early, allowing him to enroll at K-State for the upcoming spring semester and begin training with the KSU football team as soon as he steps on campus.
Delton, a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, is ranked as the 16th best dual-threat quarterback in the country for the class of 2015, and the No. 4 ranked player in the state of Kansas. He was the first player to commit to K-State for this recruiting class and the first to sign. As it sits, Delton looks to be the cornerstone of KSU's upcoming recruiting efforts and will be in position to compete for the starting quarterback job right away, especially after the graduation of incumbent starter Jake Waters this season.
"Going in there early at the quarterback position, it gives me a huge advantage on learning the new offense and getting a head start," Delton said. "At this point with K-State's quarterback situation and Jake leaving, it's going to be a huge opportunity for me. Coach Snyder talked about it when I first met him and I just decided to engage on that."
Among those present at Delton's signing on Thursday were first-year Hays High football coach Bo Black and former coach Ryan Cornelsen, now the head coach for Hutchinson High School. Cornelsen was the Indians' coach the past five seasons and coached Delton his freshman, sophomore and junior years.
Delton and Cornelsen were always close, and it was important for Delton to have him there at his signing, something even Black was completely on board with.
"I was very honored and very proud that he asked me to be a part of this and that coach Black and I are good enough friends that he thought it was a great idea," Cornelsen said. "The talent is there, the work ethic, but what a lot of people might not know is he is just a great kid. He's got a lot of character. ... When you have all those things together, you just want to see him be successful and go on and he has that opportunity."
Before Delton turns his focus to his college career, he is doing his best to keep his attention on his final season at Hays High. The Indians enter their first season in Class 4A Division I this year, where they are considered to be one of the favorites to be in line for a state championship run.
Hays High opens its season next Friday with a 5:30 p.m. game at Olathe Northwest. The team will play its annual Maroon and Gold Scrimmage at 7 p.m. today at Lewis Field Stadium.
"He understands that's where he's at now. He is an Indian," Ricky Delton said of Alex. "I tell him all the time, 'You are an Indian now. That's down the road.' We understand he is committed (to KSU) and everything, but take care of what's at hand right now. And Alex, he has a good concept of that."