It's a busy week, not to mention a rewarding series of days, for Kansas State's Collin Klein as he left Wednesday morning for the land of Mickey and Goofy, will then jet to Baltimore on Friday, and finally arrive in New York City on Saturday.
Klein left Wednesday for Orlando, Fla., and the Home Depot College Football Awards Show Thursday night at 6:30 on ESPN from the Atlantic Dance Hall on Disney's Boardwalk at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Klein is up for the Maxwell Award, symbolic of the nation's premier college football player, and the Davey O'Brien Award that goes to America's top quarterback.
The Wildcat quarterback won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award on Monday, which will be officially presented on Friday in Baltimore. On the Unitas recognition, Klein said, "It's a tremendous honor. Anyone that is familiar with the game of football recognizes that name. I'm just happy to represent Kansas State, our team and what we've been able to accomplish this season."
Klein is the first Wildcat to pick up the honor and the fifth from the Big 8/12 since the award's inception in 1987. With the award, the Loveland, Colo., product earned K-State's first major college football award since Terence Newman won the 2002 Jim Thorpe Award.
Saturday, Klein will travel to New York City where he will be one of three finalists for the prestigious Heisman Trophy. That televised event will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPN from the Best Buy Theater in Times Square.
"I'm just honored with this opportunity that the Lord has provided me here at K-State," said Klein. "I'm so proud to represent K-State in this because I feel like my road is very synonymous and in line with the K-State way. It has been a process, it has been a journey. There have been a lot of ups and downs, as well as a lot of hard times and growing pains through it. I'm just very proud to represent the K-State family and our heart and spirit in this environment."
The other Heisman finalists are Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Manti Te'o of Notre Dame Asked if had made it a point to watch the televised Heisman ceremonies in past years, he said, "I've watched it on some years, but I've never been consumed by it. It's an honor to be mentioned in that conversation and I know what the award stands for, but our Kansas State team always comes first."
Of the lifestyle in New York City, he added, "I remember some from the Pinstripe Bowl (2010). It's a busy place … pretty crazy."
Asked if he's ever struck the Heisman pose, he said, "Oh no. That's not me. Or if I did, I was real young and don't remember it."
Heading into the Baylor game, Kansas State was 10-0 and Klein had a good grasp on being the favorite for the Heisman.
Then came a 52-24 loss to the Bears with Klein being intercepted three times. With those results, K-State fell out of contention for the national championship, and Klein went from first to third in most of the Heisman projections.
"I don't think so, but that's just my opinion," said Klein when asked if one game late in the year should have such an impact on picking America's best two teams, and college football's best player. "The greatest of players and teams have never had perfect seasons, or even a perfect game. That's just the way it goes."
While up for the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien Award Thursday, Klein admits, "If there's one you would want to win, it would be the Heisman. It's what every player is shooting for. But honestly, whatever is supposed to happen will happen."
To coach Bill Snyder, whatever happens in the Big Apple on Saturday is insignificant to what Klein has meant in the Little Apple.
"Everybody feels strongly about Collin because of the humility he represents and his commitment to helping others," said the Wildcat coach. "Collin is the most visible because of what he does on the field, but he is a very quality young person who is dedicated to helping other people."
Snyder added, "No one has been more meaningful to his team than Collin has to ours."
Klein ranks in the top 10 in school history in rushing touchdowns (1st; 55), touchdown responsibility (1st; 84), scoring (2nd; 336), total yards (3rd; 7,028), passing efficiency (3rd; 141.05), rushing attempts (3rd; 588), rushing yards (5th; 2,455), completions (5th, 353), passing touchdowns (t6th; 29), passing yards (7th; 4,573) and pass attempts (8th; 572).
His 55 rushing touchdowns also rank fourth in Big 12 history and second among quarterbacks. Hosted by the likes of Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN, awards Thursday will include the Maxwell Award (most outstanding player), the Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year), the Biletnikoff Award (most outstanding wide receiver), the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award (most outstanding placekicker), the Ray Guy Award (most outstanding punter), the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award (best quarterback), the Outland Trophy (most outstanding interior lineman), the Jim Thorpe Award (most outstanding defensive back) and the Doak Walker Award (most outstanding running back).
SNYDER FINALIST FOR Eddie Robinson COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD:
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is one of nine coaches to be named a finalist for the 2012 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced today.
It is the second coach-of-the-year award Snyder is in the running for as he was named a semifinalist for the Maxwell Coach of the Year Award last month, in addition to being named the Associated Press' Big 12 Coach of the Year.
This year's designation marked the second-straight season Snyder has been a finalist for the award and the fifth overall (1993, 1995, 1998). The FWAA has honored a major-college coach with its Coach of the Year Award since 1957. In 1997, the FWAA coaching award was named after Eddie Robinson, the coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 years. The late "Coach Rob" is the second winningest coach in Division I history (408 games).
Joining Snyder as a finalists for the award are Gary Andersen (Utah State), Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Will Muschamp (Florida), Bill O'Brien (Penn State), David Shaw (Stanford) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M).