"Being named captain for Team USA is a big thing to me," Klein admitted. "Having these guys respect me enough to think I can handle this job means everything to me, and I don't take this honor lightly. Everyone on this team was probably a captain in high school, so to have them vote me the job is kind of humbling. This is the greatest honor I've ever been given so far in sports."
Team USA has rolled to two easy wins, 78-0 over France and 55-0 over Mexico, and faces Canada on Sunday for the gold medal.
"It's been a great experience playing with these guys," Klein admitted. "We've come together as a team, nobody cares about who gets the glory, or how much playing time they get. Now, we need one more win. We have a bunch of great players and we're all honored to be able to represent our country."
Klein has led a rock-solid defense that has allowed few first downs, and zero points in two games.
"People keep asking me if anyone will score against us and I don't know what to say," he said. "I want to know say nobody will but that sounds arrogant, and I don't think the coaches would like that. But as a unit, we don't feel we should give up any points at all. Canada will be tough on Sunday because they have a great quarterback and some good skill players. I'm confident we can win if we keep playing like we have the first two games."
Klein reported to Ohio State in January and immediately began working out with the team. He went through spring practice and played in the annual spring game.
"I think I did pretty well in the spring, to be honest," he admitted. "I'm right where I need to be. I was wondering how different this would be from high school, and I found out real quick. You always hear about the players being bigger, faster and stronger in college, and that's just what I found. I tried to let my talent take over and not be intimidated by the older guys, and you just adjust and play the game. I know I can compete at Ohio State."
Klein is versatile enough to play on both sides of the football, but will be strictly a middle linebacker at Ohio State.
"I'm a middle linebacker at Ohio State," Klein stressed. "My days of carrying the football are over unless I get a few picks. I'd like to get a carry for Team USA and maybe they'll give it to me on a fourth down near the goal line. James Laurinaitis set the standard the past three years of how to play in the middle and I want to keep that tradition going. He gave me his number and said to call anytime I needed any advice. Right now I'm behind Austin Spitler, who's going to be a great player this year. I don't think people know just how good Spitler really is, but they're about to find out."
The time spent at Ohio State has been a great learning experience for the freshman out of Licking Valley, Ohio.
"This is a different world from high school, both on the field and in the classroom," Klein stressed. "I've adjusted pretty well to being at Ohio State and I love it there. I'm taking classes right now and I have work to do on the computer while we're playing for Team USA. I love playing for Coach [Jim] Tressel. He's sent me a few text messages congratulating me on our first two wins. [Linebacker coach] Luke Fickell has also been a big help to me. Coach Fickell is a perfectionist and he makes sure you are always doing things the right way. I'm looking forward to getting back with the guys next week."
Klein has one more mission to accomplish for Team USA. He wants to lead his team to the gold medal by beating Canada on Sunday.
"I take this thing very personally and even more after being voted captain," Klein said. "We all need to come out Sunday prepared to give our best performance. We can still play better and that's my message to our team for Sunday. We've had way too many penalties and we've missed some assignments. None of us might ever get the chance to represent our country again, so we need to finish the job on Sunday. I'm planning on playing the best I've ever played, and doing whatever this team needs for us to win the gold medal."
Klein and his Team USA teammates will face Canada on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The game will also be televised by Fox College Sports Atlantic.