MANHATTAN — Kansas State backup quarterback John Holcombe, who on Tuesday night announced his intention to transfer, did talk over the decision with quarterback coach Collin Klein.
That was as far as Klein would go in discussing the matter when he met with media members Wednesday afternoon.
"We did have some discussion. He did give some reasons," Klein said of Holcombe, who revealed his decision to enter the transfer portal in a post on his personal Twitter account. "I won't really go into his business. We had a conversation and he felt like it was the best thing for him."
Holcombe, a 6-foot-4, 249-pound redshirt freshman from Humble, Texas, had appeared in three games for the 3-1 Wildcats, most recently at both tight end and quarterback in last Saturday's 26-13 loss at Oklahoma State. In those games, he rushed for a total of 71 yards and completed 1 of 3 passes for 9 yards.
In his tweet, Holcombe thanked the K-State fan base, students and professors, proclaiming, "Though my time here was brief, in these two short years, you have brought me nothing but joy." But he went on to say he was leaving Manhattan.
"I love each and every one of you dearly but after careful consideration and many conversations with my family and some close friends, it saddens me to say that I will be entering the transfer portal, you guys are amazing and I wish my brothers nothing but the best for the rest of this season and will be happily cheering them on, but it is my time to part ways."
Holcombe's announcement came hours after K-State coach Chris Klieman praised him for his willingness to work in at tight end in the Oklahoma State game.
"He plays fast. That's one thing that we were excited about watching John," Klieman said at his weekly news briefing. "He got off the football fast. He can block the point of attack.
"We put him at tight end during the week of practice and he's physical … He wants to be involved, and that's a really good thing."
Klieman said during the briefing that Holcombe still had some work to do in learning the intricacies of the tight end, or flex, position.
"Now is he ready to play 60 snaps there? No, but we're hopeful the more he can understand, he can be out there."
With junior Skylar Thompson returning as the starting quarterback, Holcombe and sophomore Nick Ast battled through the spring and fall camp for the backup job.
Klein said Holcombe's departure means more practice repetitions for Ast and true freshman Jaren Lewis, who has worked primarily with the scout team so far.
"That's what's going to happen and those guys will step up," Klein said. "I've got all the confidence in the world in both those guys and we'll just keep getting after it."
Ast, a 6-foot-5, 209-pound walk-on from Cimarron, has appeared in three games, completing all three of his passes for 28 yards, while his only rushing attempt went for a 1-yard loss.
Klein said he has no qualms about looking to Ast if Thompson goes down.
"(I'm) very confident. I think he's got some different skill sets than Skylar does, and we would make the game plan fit those skill sets," Klein said. "And I can promise you there's no one that prepares harder than Nick."
He also said that Lewis, who participated in spring drills after graduating early from Battle High School in Columbia, Mo., has made significant progress in recent weeks.