KLEIN: A SNAPSHOT OF THE TOTAL PACKAGE

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Collin Klein has been one of the top stories in the Big 12 leading the Wildcats to a 9-2 record after the club was picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll. He's an individual that coach Bill Snyder calls "… an awfully good young person." And, and awfully good young quarterback.

Bill Snyder recently said of quarterback Collin Klein, "He's an awfully good young person. You'd like for all of your players to walk out the door with what Collin walked in the door with."

Loveland High School is where Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein played his Colorado prep football, but as for his schooling, that took place in the Klein home where his lone instructor was his mother, Kelly.

Yes, Klein, an accounting and finance major, is a product of the home schooling system.

"It's something mom and dad prayed about, and then made the decision," said Klein. "I went to regular preschool, and as mom tells the story, they gave God one more year to make sure about the right thing to do and I attended regular kindergarten. But from that point on I was home schooled."

Through the years, Klein said, "I didn't feel like I missed anything. I had tons of great friendships with kids that went to private or public schools, plus those that were home-schooled. I wouldn't trade my experience for anything in the world."

While learning all about reading, writing and arithmetic, Klein said the greatest result from his home schooling background was developing a bond with his mother, younger brother Kyle, who is a defensive end on the K-State team, plus his dad, Doug.

Asked on the Catbacker tour this summer what kind of girl he wanted to date, Klein responded by saying, "Someone just like my mom, but younger."

He would add, "Kyle and dad are literally my best friends. Home schooling allowed us to build a family relationship, plus we had the ability to study the Bible within our home schooling curriculum and have a music studies part of our education. It really has provided a lot of neat opportunities."

Early-day memories of his father, who is a mortgage broker, include being his "… right-hand man when I know I was a bigger pain than help. He let me help do file work, which is how I learned about alphabetical order. Dad was always so supportive, but never pushed athletics. He wanted the desire and want to come from me, but he was always there to help me do what I wanted to do."

Throughout his career, including today, Klein wears a No. 7 on his jersey, which goes back to his admiration of his father, who wore No. 7 when he played for Fort Lewis College in Durrango.

Once his prep career started at Loveland High, Klein would mosey on over to the school around 2:30 for the start of weights and readying for practice.

"It wasn't a problem at all, and I always felt accepted because I was around my friends," said Klein. "I came in and worked as hard as I could to earn their trust and respect."

With his 6-5, 226-pound size, Klein was more of a basketball player in high school when he had scholarship offers from Northern Colorado, Portland State and Northern Arizona. In fact, he didn't even start playing football until his ninth-grade year.

"I always wanted to play, and did play in the back yard, but I think the idea was to wait until I was older to prevent injuries and prevent from burning out too early," said Klein, who also excelled in baseball as a pitcher and catcher.

What about skiing in the Rockies? "That's funny. I love to water ski, but I've never snow skied in my life," said Klein. "As far as I know, there's not a story as to why, but I just haven't."

Speaking of hobbies, Klein is accomplished with the piano, mandolin and violin. Talents, he says, "God has given me the ability and desire to play sports and play music. I am very grateful to be a good steward of the gifts he has given me. That's more rewarding than any individual successes or achievements. I enjoy everything from classical, to ragtime piano, to fiddle, to country. (Laughing) I didn't listen to country until I moved here and had a roommate that played it all the time."

No, the clean-cut Klein doesn't have a tattoo like so many of his teammates, nor will he ever have one.

Laughing, Klein said, "I would never get one for two reasons. One, it's one of mom's rules, and two, I'm trying to honor God with the body he has given me and I don't want to tarnish his image. I don't hold it against the guys that do have them, but I never would."

While the NFL is certainly a goal, it falls only on Klein's secondary list: "My dream is to honor God in whatever I do. If that is with football through the abilities he has given me, then that would be great. But I don't want to look too far ahead and miss a current opportunity with teammates and family."

Growing up in Loveland, which is just a short drive to Boulder, Colo., Klein was not recruited by the Buffs, but he said, "That was OK. I'm not one to hold a grudge toward anyone. I understood at the time that it would all turn out for the best, and it has."

It has at K-State where he was recruited by Ron Prince, and then had coach Snyder enter his life: "The man has such a competitive drive and never settling for anything but the best. He is constantly trying to get better, plus he cares about the people around him whether it's the players or individuals in the community. No one cares about this program the way he does. He's just an amazing person and an amazing coach."


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