The Quarterback: Collin Klein. At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, the rising senior was one of the biggest thorns in Miami's side all last season. He threw for 132 yards and two touchdowns against the Hurricanes last September and also ran for 93 yards and a score. It seemed like whenever his team needed five yards on a third-and-four situation, he could run or pass for it and convert. He finished the season with just 1,918 yards in the pass-happy Big 12 but threw for 13 touchdowns and tossed just six balls to opposing defenses in 13 games. He took good care of the football through the air but it's on the ground that he does most of his damage. Klein finished last season with 1,141 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns. He's the closest thing to Tim Tebow in that regard playing college football right now.
Best Offensive Player: Klein. The next best player is senior wide receiver Chris Harper. At 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, he's a big receiver who can catch balls in traffic, make the tough catches over the middle, and he's a handful to handle coming off the line of scrimmage. He finished last season with 40 catches for 547 yards and five scores, becoming Klein's favorite target all year. He had just three catches for 23 yards against Miami but is their best offensive weapon whenever Klein doesn't have it.
Top Defensive Player: Arthur Brown. At 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, Brown is a familiar name to Hurricane fans. The former five-star recruit signed with Miami, played as a backup here under Randy Shannon, and then transferred to Kansas State. He quickly became an impact player, finishing his first season there as the leading tackler (101 with 9.5 for loss and one interception). Brown can play any of the linebacker spots. He will likely be the leading tackler again. He can make plays in coverage. He can create big plays on contact. He's a difference maker on what should be a solid K-State defense in 2012.
2012 Outlook: The Wildcats started the season 7-0 last season, including a win at Miami, before they ran into the toughest part of their schedule down the stretch. Beginning with the Oklahoma game, their defense fell apart and they lost three of their last six games. All their top players are back from last season. Klein is one of the top quarterbacks around. John Hubert, the team's top running back in 2011, is back. Harper leads a solid group of pass-catchers. The line play appears to be solid. Brown leads a solid back seven that also includes All-American candidate Nigel Malone, who picked off seven passes in 2011, at safety. The team won 10 games in 2011 and it's not unrealistic to believe they'll be a much improved team in 2012. However, the schedule is a lot harder this time around and so getting to double digit wins again may end up being extremely difficult. Still, they're a top 25 caliber team and they get Miami at home.