August 8, 2013
By Mark Janssen
Collin Klein is one of those former players who say, "Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat."
But today, as the 2013 men of Bill Snyder prep for the upcoming fall season, it's Klein who is on the outside looking in.
"I've kept busy, so I really haven't thought about it a lot, but it is different," said Klein of not being a part of K-State's preseason camp. "I miss being around the guys more than anything, but right now I'm where the Lord wants me to be. We'll see what the next few months bring and what the Lord has in store for me, and will rejoice in it."
Klein, a 2012 Heisman Trophy finalist, says of his K-State ties, "I love K-State so much. I will always be part of the family, but in a different role. I'm excited to watch and support the team from a different angle."
Since celebrating the Big 12 title with a victory over Texas last December with a 42-24 thrashing of the Longhorns, football-life hasn't been all touchdowns and first downs.
What followed was a 35-17 loss to Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, and then back-up roles in postseason all-star games and going undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Unfair to K-State football fans, but "God's plan," to Klein.
The Wildcat quarterback did get one brief look-see in the Houston Texan rookie camp, and even today fields calls from not only the Texans, but also Miami Dolphins.
"In Houston I performed very, very well. The coaches were very pleased and very impressed, but they didn't have a spot. It's the business side of football that I don't understand," said Klein, who was named the Big 12 Conference Male Athlete of the Year last month. "Miami has contacted my agent, but has never said exactly what they're looking for.
"It sounds crazy, but everyone who has personally worked me out has had nothing but good things to say and has been nothing but encouraging," said Klein. "I've been told that I can play at a very high level in the NFL, but I guess there's more to it than that."
Chuckling, "It has been difficult, but like Coach (Bill Snyder) always says, you control what you can control."
What he's had control of this summer was the Collin Klein Passing Academy, which made stops in Wichita, Liberal, Garden City, Manhattan, Topeka, Salina and Dodge City.
Joined by his dad, Doug, and having wife, Shalin, as Head Camp Director, the Kleins would work with 100-plus third- to eighth-graders in the morning and high school-aged football hopefuls in the afternoon.
"It's an idea that I've always wanted to do. It's a way to give back to the state of Kansas and to give direction to young people," said Klein. "The biggest part of the camp is providing a practical example in life, whether that's in faith, family, what they do in school or on the field.
"I have a curriculum with a few messages on leadership, goal setting and priorities that I hope will help them down the road," said Klein. "I was blessed to have people share in these areas with me, so I hope that I can touch the lives of some of these young people today."
Klein hopes that he will eventually be in an NFL uniform - any uniform - but says that he will find time to operate the Second Annual Collin Klein Passing Academy next summer, which is open to all prospective football players, and not just quarterbacks.