Kansas State’s Collin Klein Mind On The Football Game, Not The Ring Of Honor

MANHATTAN — Although Collin Klein would like to participate in the Kansas State Ring of Honor ceremony on Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, he has more pressing concerns.

While the other five inductees — including two former K-State teammates — are on the field for the unveiling, Klein will be in the locker room, making sure the current Wildcats are up to speed. The calls of duty.

In addition to joining the Ring of Honor, Klein will make his official debut as offensive coordinator when the Wildcats kick off the season at 6 p.m. against South Dakota.

“I’m sure there will be a minute to be able to step back and reminisce a bit,” Klein said as he saw his name permanently displayed along with 19 others around the stadium. “(But) it’s pretty much this week for me.

“It’s about our guys and making sure we’re in the best position possible, being as prepared as possible to let them play the best clean game possible, and going after it.”

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The 50,000 fans expected for the game will have the opportunity to reminisce about Klein’s playing career as a Wildcats quarterback at the recognition ceremony. There’s a reason he joins linebacker Arthur Brown (2011-12), running back Larry Brown (1967-68), defensive end Darren Howard (1996-99), wide receiver Tyler Lockett (2011- 14) and quarterback Ell Roberson (2000-03).

As a senior in 2012, he helped lead the Wildcats to an 11-2 record and a Big 12 championship, including a No. 1 national ranking in November. In addition to winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and receiving second-team All-America honors, he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brian Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year and the Manning Prize.

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On the field, he completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 2,641 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 920 yards and 23 scores. This follows a junior season in which he passed for 1,918 yards and rushed for 1,141 with a school-record 27 rushing touchdowns.

“It’s pretty cool for CK and all those inductees,” said K-State head coach Chris Klieman, who promoted Klein to offensive coordinator in January. “I’m excited because when I think of Collin, I think of a very humble guy who appreciates the opportunities he’s had. He’s made the most of them.

“A great player, but just the humility and the way he’s done a great job with our players, talking about being grateful. Talking about taking the opportunity when it’s given to you, and it’s going to be a weekend. pretty special end for the Klein family.”

While Klein is in the locker room with his offense, he will be represented on the court by his wife Shalin, herself a former K-State basketball player, and their three sons.

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Quarterback Adrian Martinez said K-State players were well aware of the ceremony, but it was not from Klein.

“He didn’t really talk about it and I think that’s part of his humility,” said Martinez, the Nebraska transfer who will make his K-State debut against South Dakota. “But we saw his name pop up on the side, and it’s our job to go out there and maybe ease his nerves.

“I’m sure he’s going to go through a lot of emotions, and we have to go out there and do our job for him.”

Arne Green is based in Salina and covers Kansas State University sports for the Gannett Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @arnegreen.

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