Klein collecting considerable interest

Buffalo Grove, Ill. linebacker feels he is close to receiving his first scholarship offer

Matt Klein, a 6-foot, 210-pound class of 2007 linebacker prospect at Buffalo Grove (Ill.) High School, has already garnered significant interest from college suitors. He has not yet received his first scholarship offer, but he feels that could be just around the corner.

Klein has already attended junior days at Iowa and Purdue and he will attend one at Northwestern this weekend. In a recent telephone interview, he said he also received junior day invitations from North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Northern Illinois and he is receiving consistent interest from Wisconsin.

The North Carolina and Vanderbilt junior day invites were also for this weekend, though, so Klein will miss those because he received NU's invite before he was contacted by the Tar Heels or Commodores. He plans to attend spring practices at North Carolina and Vanderbilt.

"I've been texting coaches a lot back and forth right now," Klein said. "Like Coach Hagen (Boilermaker assistant head coach/defensive tackles coach Mark Hagen) and I are pretty close. I like Coach Hagen a lot from Purdue, and Coach Erb (Hawkeye receivers coach Lester Erb) from Iowa, and I've just been getting contact now with Coach Lynch (Hoosier wide receivers coach Billy Lynch) from Indiana.

"Other than that, I get sent mail every day from Big Ten schools and handwritten (letters) from a few of those schools. I'm starting to get a lot of steady mail from North Carolina right now. I like North Carolina a lot. That's funny that they would start sending stuff all the way up here.

"Wisconsin, of course, sends me stuff pretty much every day or every other day."

Klein believes he could soon receive an offer from Purdue.

"I like Purdue a lot right now," he said. "They just watched my two games (on video) and Coach Hagen said they had to watch my highlight tape to see what's going on. Which is a good one, because it's always the two games you have to worry about, when coaches watch (them). That's when they really see the mistakes that you make. But the highlight tapes are the fun part, you know. The highlight tapes are when you want to show off your best. Hopefully he'll like that.

"What I like about Purdue right now is that they want to keep me at linebacker, not move me to safety. I'm about 6-0 ½ and about 210 and a lot of schools want to move me to safety. But Purdue says if we can get you up to 225, 230, we'd love to keep you at middle linebacker. I said, ‘Well that's great.'"

Klein, who reported a 315-pound bench press and a 4.58 40-yard dash, said he would have no problem adding weight to play linebacker in college.

"That's what I want to do," he said. "It's been my dream to play linebacker in college. I don't really want to move to safety. I would if it came down to it. But I really like linebacker. I like to be in the middle of things and hit some people."

Klein will be a three-year starter at Buffalo Grove this fall. He spent the last two games of his freshman season on the varsity team and then started at outside linebacker each of the past two seasons. He expects to play middle linebacker as a senior.

Last season, Klein produced 124 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, an interception and three sacks. His career statistics include 227 tackles, 120 solo stops, 19 tackles for loss, four sacks, seven forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered and two interceptions.

Klein clearly has high interest in Purdue. What other schools could be considered favorites?

"I like Northwestern because of their academics that they offer…," he said. "I want to go into sports medicine so that's really important to me.

"I like Wisconsin too because they have a good program even though" former head coach Barry Alvarez stepped aside after 16 seasons leading the Badgers.

"I think that they've always been consistently… in the top tier of the Big Ten and I can't remember the last time they had a real bad off year," Klein said. "So I like their consistency with Wisconsin plus they have a nice social life.

"I guess I like the Big Ten schools the most. And those are the schools that are going to probably offer, so I like those schools a lot."

Klein said he had not made any concrete plans on summer camp trips, though he was currently mulling camps at Northern Illinois, Purdue and Iowa. His summer football plans are contingent on which schools offer him.

"This stuff all depends on who offers and who doesn't," he said. "Because why go to a place that has already offered you? I think I'm going to try to end up going to a few Big Ten schools."

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