MANHATTAN, Kan. – In one of the first major steps toward landing on an NFL roster for the 2022 season, Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson and defensive back Russ Yeast are in Las Vegas this week to play in the 97th East-West Shrine Bowl, which will take place on Thursday at 7 p.m., at Allegiant Stadium and will be shown on NFL Network.
They are the second and third Wildcats to play in a postseason all-star game this year as offensive lineman Josh Rivas helped the National Team earn a 25-24 win in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on Saturday.
Thompson and Yeast are the first Wildcats to play in the East-West Shrine Bowl since place kicker Matthew McCrane and long snapper Drew Scott in 2017.
A product of Independence, Missouri, Thompson played in 45 career games and made 40 starts over parts of five seasons. He led K-State to 24 wins as a starting quarterback, the most among all Wildcat signal callers since at least 1990. He is the only player in school history with 6,000 career passing yards and 1,000 career rushing yards, and he finished his career ranked in the top 10 in school history in 15 career categories. Thompson left as the school’s record holder for lowest career interception percentage (1.81%) and ranked second in passing touchdowns (42), passing yards (7,134), completions (552) and total offensive yards (8,221).
During his final season in Manhattan, Thompson led the Wildcats to an 8-5 record, which included a 42-20 victory over LSU in the TaxAct Texas Bowl. Thompson, the game’s MVP, threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns on 21-of-28 aim, tying for second in K-State bowl history in completions and completion percentage (75.0%) and tying for third in touchdown passes. Thompson finished the 2021 season with a school-record completion percentage of 69.53%, while he ranked second in school history in passing efficiency (159.3), third in passing yards per attempt (9.07) and eighth in passing yards per game (211.3).
Yeast, a transfer from Louisville prior to the 2021 season, started all 13 games at safety as he picked up First Team All-Big 12 honors from the league’s coaches in addition to earning votes for the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year award. He was also named a Second Team All-Big 12 performer by the Associated Press and to The Athletic’s All-Portal Team. A native of Danville, Kentucky, Yeast made 48 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions and 14 total passes defended in 2021. He led the Big 12 in total passes defended, while he finished 14th in the nation and second in the Big 12 in interceptions.