Northwestern University Wildcats
Cherry Creek High School
Boulder High School
Whatever team that gives Kain Colter a chance is facing a pleasant dilemma – where to play the Wildcats quarterback. The consensus is it will not be at the position he manned during his college career. Even Colter had the foresight to realize that, as his time in the Big Ten Conference has often seen him aligned as a slot receiver, tailback and flanker, in addition to his signal-calling duties.
Colter can look at the success that recent college quarterbacks have had moving to another position in the National Football League. Two of those success stories wore Pittsburgh Steelers uniforms, as Antwan Randle-El was a starting quarterback at Indiana and Hines Ward called signals at Georgia before the Bulldogs shifted him full-time to the receiver as a senior.
Michael Robinson quarterbacked at Penn State before becoming an NFL fullback with San Francisco and Seattle. John Lynch played under center before turning into an All-Pro safety during his Denver days. Julian Edelman was Kent State's quarterback before emerging as Tom Brady's favorite pass catcher in New England. Josh Cribbs, Brad Smith and Legedu Naanee are other former passers who have carved out a living elsewhere in the NFL ranks.
One thing has been certain when it comes to Colter – no matter what position he plays, no matter what sport he competes in, his consummate team work ethic shines through. At Boulder High School, he lettered twice in football as a freshman and sophomore, along with playing on the basketball team in 2007 before transferring to Cherry Creek.
At Cherry Creek High School, Colter garnered Super Prep All-Midlands and Prep Star All-Midlands Region. He was ranked 52nd nationally among all athletes by Rivals.com, 49th nationally among all quarterbacks by Super Prep and 56th regionally (nine states) among all players by that recruiting service.
Colter was a three-time All-Centennial League selection, adding 2009 Denver Post first-team all-state accolades as an athlete, despite missing eight-plus games with a shoulder injury his senior season that limited his throwing. That year, he finished with 907 passing yards and 978 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. Playing a full season as a junior, he led the Bruins (11-3 in 2008) to the 5A state championship game as he threw for 1,786 yards, ran for 937 and accounted for 31 touchdowns.
In the 2008 quarterfinal game vs. defending state champ Grandview, he ran 36 yards for the game-winning double OT score on a third-and-goal play. As a sophomore at Boulder High, he threw for 2,073 yards, ran for 463 and had 25 scores. The team captain lettered four times in football, three times in basketball (point guard) and four years in track and field (long jump/triple jump). He was also named to both schools' Honor Roll.
Colter enrolled at Northwestern in 2010 and lettered as a true freshman, appearing in three games as a reserve quarterback. He gained 38 yards on 3-of-9 passes, scored twice on 29 carries for 143 yards and also caught a pass for a 32-yard gain. Yet if not for a freak injury he suffered in 2009, he wouldn't have been a Wildcat. He would have most likely been playing for Stanford, instead.
On the fourth play of the season opener for Englewood Cherry Creek High School, Colter reached for a loose ball with his right arm and was hit in the back of his right shoulder. For the rest of the game, he felt a sharp pain every time he threw the ball. "No big deal," is what he was thinking. But an MRI of the shoulder taken the following day showed that he had severely torn his labrum. One doctor recommended having surgery, which would have ended his season immediately. His family doctor, though, thought he might be able to rehab it.
So, after missing three games, he came back, opting to have surgery after the season. He played one game at wide receiver, but then was moved back to quarterback, where he played for the rest of the year. Colter had what he called "a pretty good season" and was named to the All-Colorado team as an athlete in 2009.
Stanford, however, seemed to disagree. The coaching staff, then headed by Jim Harbaugh, began to "slow-play" him, he says. And while Colter always had the ability to play other positions, his heart was set on taking snaps at the college level.
Colter's offer, like all other Stanford offers, was contingent upon him getting admitted to the school. Stanford is every bit as stringent on athlete admissions as Northwestern, if not more so. Cardinal coaches began dragging their feet on the admissions process, telling Colter that he wouldn't find out whether he was admitted until late January, just a couple weeks before signing day.
Colter, fearful of getting "left hanging" without a scholarship if he didn't get admitted, decommitted from Stanford in December and began looking elsewhere. It was a difficult decision, but as he said at the time, the loyalty he was showing Stanford was not being reciprocated.
Northwestern, which had been one of his final schools before he picked Stanford, was one of the first schools he called.
The irony of that entire saga is that Colter carried a 3.8 grade point average at Cherry Creek and scored a 26 on his ACT, numbers that should have gotten him admitted to Stanford -- or any other school, for that matter. That led Colter to believe that it was his injured shoulder, and not his application, that was the real impediment to admission.
Colter's time in Evanston hasn't been all touchdowns and tuxedoes, however. As a true freshman in 2010, he was pressed into duty in Week 11. Starting quarterback Dan Persa tore his Achilles tendon the week before, which sabotaged the Wildcats' season and forced Colter into action. He estimates that his arm strength was about "50 to 60 percent" of what it was before the injury, and those handful of snaps in the last two regular-season games and the Ticket City Bowl -- all losses, no less -- cost Colter a potential fifth year of eligibility.
In 2011, he started the first three games at quarterback and then stepped aside when Persa returned to the lineup. He played wide receiver and running back for the Wildcats as coaches tried different ways to get the ball in his hands, and he also got quite a bit of playing time at QB the rest of the season as Persa was in and out of the lineup.
For the year, he hit on 55-of-82 passes for 673 yards and six scores. He led the Wildcats with 654 yards and nine touchdowns on 135 carries (4.84 ypc) and also finished third on the squad with a career-high 43 receptions for 466 yards (10.84 ypc) and three more scores.
In 2012, Colter came into the season as Northwestern's leading passer, rusher and receiver, a rare feat for any player in any program. The starting quarterback position would finally be his -- or so he thought. He wound up getting the majority of snaps, but had to split time with Trevor Siemian, who was the more polished passer of the two and entered the game when the Wildcats wanted to throw the ball more. Colter never begrudged Siemian or the coaches. Again, he did what was better for the team.
His junior campaign saw Colter deliver on a career-high 101-of-150 throws (67.33%) for 872 yards and eight touchdowns. He ranked second on the team with 891 yards and 12 scores on 169 rushing attempts (5.27 ypc). He also pulled down 16 passes for 169 yards and recorded a solo tackle in 13 contests.
Going into his final season, Colter's career had come full circle. The player that was so intent on playing quarterback at the start of his career was now hoping to play other positions, too.
He says that the trend toward the read-option in the NFL has given him the hope that he could be a part-time quarterback and part-time receiver, just as he has been in Evanston.
Much like his senior season in high school, Colter had to deal with injury issues that impacted his playing time for the Wildcats in 2013. He started 10 games, missing the Minnesota contest with a right ankle injury that would later require surgery and left the California clash after suffering a concussion. He even got hurt after the season, re-injuring his ankle while practicing in Mobile preparing to play wide receiver at the 2014 Senior Bowl.
That injury would prevent him from getting medical clearance to participate in drills at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine and also prevented him from participating in Northwestern's Pro Day on March 4. He finished his final season with 63 completions of 80 tosses (78.75%) for 577 yards and three touchdowns. He placed second on the squad with 489 yards and five scores on 115 carries, adding 16 yards on three receptions.
Colter started 28-of-40 games at Northwestern, where he completed 222-of-320 passes (69.38%) for 2,160 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions, adding 2,180 yards with 28 touchdowns on 449 carries (4.86 ypc) to register 4,340 yards in total offense…Had 63 receptions for 683 yards (10.84 ypc) and four scores, compiling 192 points with one solo tackle and 2,863 all-purpose yards…
School Career-Record Results…Colter ranks eighth in school history with 2,180 yards rushing, as his 28 scores on the ground placed fifth on the Wildcats all-time list…Finished 11th on the career-record chart with 4,340 yards in total offense…
School Season-Record Results…Colter is tied for seventh on the annual record list with twelve touchdown runs as a junior…
School Game-Record Results…Tied the school game record that he shares with 10 others, after Colter ran for four touchdowns vs. Indiana in 2012…His 80-yard pass that was caught by Jeremy Ebert vs. Nebraska in 2011 is the fifth-longest pass play in school history.
2009 Season…Missed eight plus games with a serious throwing shoulder injury senior year of high school…Underwent surgery to repair torn labrum and biceps.
2012 Season…Left with an injury to non-throwing shoulder in the fourth quarter of the Syracuse game.
2013 Season…Left the Minnesota contest with a right ankle injury that would later require surgery and left the California clash after suffering a concussion. He even got hurt after the season, re-injuring his ankle while practicing in Mobile preparing to play wide receiver at the 2014 Senior Bowl.
4.55 in the 40-yard dash…1.64 10-yard dash…2.67 20-yard dash…4.28 20-yard shuttle…7.00 three-cone drill…33 ½-inch vertical jump…9'-8" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times…31-inch arm length…10-inch hands…73 1/8-inch wingspan.
Colter attended Bolder (Colo.) High School as a freshman and sophomore before he transferred to Cherry Creek (Colo.) High School, where he played football for head coach Mike Brookhart…At Boulder High, he lettered twice in football as a freshman and sophomore, along with playing on the basketball team in 2007…Was a three-time All-Centennial League choice, adding 2009 Denver Post first-team all-state accolades as an athlete, despite missing eight-plus games with a shoulder injury his senior season that limited his throwing…That year, he finished with 907 passing yards and 978 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns… Playing a full season as a junior, he led the Bruins (11-3 in 2008) to the 5A state championship game as he threw for 1,786 yards, ran for 937 and accounted for 31 touchdowns…In the 2008 quarterfinal game vs. defending state champ Grandview, he ran 36 yards for the game-winning double OT score on a third-and-goal play…As a sophomore at Boulder High, he threw for 2,073 yards, ran for 463 and had 25 scores…The team captain lettered four times in football, three times in basketball (point guard) and four years in track and field (long jump/triple jump)…Also named to both schools' Honor Roll.
Colter is majoring in Psychology…Son of Stacy and Spencer Colter…Father played for the Colorado Buffaloes and was a member of the school's 1990 national championship team...Born Theodis Kain Colter on 5/24/92…Resides in Greenwood Village, Colorado.