Although not a household name outside of the Big 12, coaches and opposing players game plan around his abilities on the field and try to find ways to diminish the damage he is capable of inflicting upon their defenses.
Sometimes change is good, enter Bill Snyder. Bill Snyder is a legendary coach who has built his reputation around revamping an offense around the strengths of his players and putting them in the very best style of offensive play to maximize their particular skill set. Under the tutelage of Coach Snyder, Collin Klein has flourished into the player that carried the 'Cats to a 10 win season and a berth in the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas.
Klein who before breakfast tips the scales at a solid 6-foot-5 and roughly 225 pounds, is best known for his ability to move the ball on the ground, using his legs and size to punish defenses and wear them down over four quarters of play.
Klein could be on the brink of greatness and a record breaking season for Kansas State this year. As a junior, Collin threw for a respectful 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns but it was his rushing numbers that turned heads en route to breaking Big 12 and school records. Headlining the power rushing attack that Coach Bill Snyder favors, Collin amassed 1,141 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns, setting a Big 12 record for rushing scores and breaking a 42-year-old K-State school record.
These are his junior year statistics. Given another year in the program and this offense and the possible upgrade of a receiving corp with more talent and added speed to stretch the field and it is easy to see the potential for another record setting year. This year will see the addition of junior college All-American Marquez Clark who brings a big play capability and speed to burn and will present problems for those defenses who will have to provide run support and leave their defensive backs in man coverage.
Countless times last year when the Wildcats needed a big play, Klein was the player who came up big and delivered it in clutch situations. Whenever the 'Cats got into the red zone, Klein became a headache for defenses trying to keep the power running attack that Coach Snyder employed and account for Collin's ability to carry the ball himself.
Last year, Klein faced defenses akin to a goal-line defense at times and he was still able to make big plays and break off big yards when the Wildcat Offense looked like it was in trouble. Teams were stacking the line to stop Klein and many times throughout the season, just when it looked like a team had K-State on the ropes, Collin would take over.
Look no further than the game against Miami, in Miami Gardens last year where Collin ripped off a 26 yard run, running from his own end-zone and then followed that with a 13 yard run on the next play - setting the tone for the game and the season.
Collin is capable of taking over games and swinging momentum back to the KSU offense. This spring, Klein and the coaching staff concentrated on his throwing development and an aerial attack and with more explosive weapons at the wide-out position, Klein and the K-State offense are poised for another big year.
Klein can beat you with his feet and every coach or player that has watched film knows this. Knowing it and stopping it however are two different things and if Klein can continue to develop his passing game and add yet another dimension to this offense, the potential is there for a record breaking type of season.
Collin is a big quarterback with great size but his strength and ability to absorb the physical hits and punishment that comes from running the style of offense Coach Snyder employs is key. Defenses will continue to key on Klein this year and expect more 5-2 and 5-3 front with safety help which could prove costly should the 'Cats an Marquez Clark find the vertical game they seek.
But what makes Klein a possible Heisman candidate this year is his work ethic and faith off the field of play. Many do not realize the type of work ethic and effort Klein brings to the field and as talented as he may be, he is constantly working on getting better and doing the little things to elevate his game. There are talented quarterbacks in every conference in the country. There are not many that will 'outwork' Collin Klein and that is why he may be on the brink of a record breaking season.