MANHATTAN — Skylar Thompson looks the part and acts the part.
There's no longer any doubt who is Kansas State's No. 1 quarterback, and nothing in the past month has changed that.
It showed on the practice field, it shows in the huddle, and it even showed in the way Thompson handled a postgame press conference.
"It's just a confidence thing," Thompson said following Saturday's "Spring Showcase" at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, the culmination of the first spring under new head Chris Klieman. "It feels good to have a feeling that my coaches and teammates believe in me and trust me.
"It gives me a lot of confidence to go make plays and not second-guess myself and never look over my shoulder."
That was not necessarily the case last spring, or all of 2018 for that matter, when Thompson eventually emerged from an extended quarterback competition with Alex Delton, but never enjoyed the kind of job security a starting quarterback typically expects.
Now that Delton is gone — he'll be a senior graduate transfer at TCU this fall — Thompson begins his junior season as the clear choice at quarterback under Klieman and offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham. And he hasn't disappointed.
"He and coach (Collin) Klein and coach Mess meet an awful lot," Klieman said of Thompson's relationship with Messingham and Klein, the quarterbacks coach. "They do a great job of continuing to give him more and more information, and he's able to retain.
"That's the thing I was so impressed with Skyler is the amount of information he was able to retain in a 15-day practice, in the fact that we threw everything in the playbook at him."
For his part, Thompson has embraced the new offense and the amount of effort it has taken to get where he is now.
"It's been so much fun getting to know coach Klieman and this new coaching staff each and every day," said Thompson, who started 10 of the games he played in last year, completing 58.7 percent of his passes for 1,391 yards and nine touchdowns with four interceptions while rushing for 373 yards and five more scores. "I stand out here on the field and practice doesn't even feel like practice.
"Waking up at 6 a.m. for film, it doesn't even feel like work because it's just fun."
The peace of mind that comes with the starting job doesn't hurt, either.
"It's elevated our offense, just from the continuity part of it, so much," Thompson said. "I'm really pleased with how far I've come.
"From day one until now is like night and day different, and there's still a long ways to go. I'm really going to dial it in and get focused up this summer and get ready for fall camp, and we're going to be ready to go in the fall, I promise."
Thompson got to show his stuff during a short scrimmage session toward the end of Saturday's showcase. Highlights were a 50-yard pass play for a touchdown to Wykeen Gill and a 15-yard bullet strike in the end zone to Landry Weber.
Sophomore receiver Hunter Rison, who sat out last year as a transfer from Michigan State, said he continues to build a chemistry with Thompson that hopefully will carry over to the fall.
"Skyler, that's my guy," Rison said with a smile. "So this offseason really is important.
"Now that we've got the playbook down, we can really focus on timing and certain routes and certain coverages and how we're going to run the routes, things like that."
Klieman is confident that Thompson will be ready to answer the call.
"When we come back in the fall, it will be all recall for him, and I know the kind of work ethic he has," Klieman said. "He'll work on this all through the spring, all through the summer, so he'll be really refined when we come (back in) August."