The Big 12's Most Underrated Player | An Ode to Collin Klein

MANHATTAN, KS - OCTOBER 1: Collin Klein #7 of the Kansas State Wildcats runs with the football around the defense of Elliot Coffey #4 of the Baylor Bears at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Manhattan, Kansas. The Wildcats won 36-35. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

I know that this is a Texas Tech blog, but I needed to write this. Last weekend I wrote my preview for Kansas St. and when I started to research, I was amazed by the overall production of Kansas St. quarterback Collin Klein and how he really didn't get much, if any Heisman Trophy consideration. I mentioned earlier this week about how all I wanted was for Texas Tech players to at the very least to be invited to the dance and last year, Klein was in a similar position.

This isn't to take away from Baylor's Robert Griffin, III, there's no doubt in my mind that he was as dominant a college player on the field last year and he had close to 1,800 more total yards and 18 more touchdowns. But Klein's year was severely underrated, at least by me, in terms of his importance to his team. I know that the thought is that there is no way that Klein will be able to maintain the rushing attempts. That he's going to get beat up and he's not going to make it through the year. That all may be true, but Klein played a full slate last year and I hate to discredit a player for something that hasn't happened.

Although I am sure I will be roundly mocked for doing this, I wanted to present Klein's numbers last year in comparison to Florida QB Tim Tebow's 2009 and 2008 season. They are similar players in that they are or were both considered to be rushing quarterbacks and not as adept passers.

More after the jump.

Player Year Rush Att Rush Yards Avg Rush TD Pass Att Pass Comp Pct Pass Yards Pass TD Int Total Yards Total TD
Collin Klein 2011 317 1,141 3.60 27 281 161 57.3 1,918 13 6 3,059 40
Tim Tebow 2009 217 910 4.19 14 314 213 67.8 2,895 21 5 3,805 35
Tim Tebow 2008 176 673 3.82 12 298 192 64.4 2,746 30 4 3,419 42


There's no debating the fact that Tebow had better passing numbers than Klein, but it's just strange to see that Klein had awfully close numbers to Tebow's Heisman winning years isn't a shock after looking into Kansas St.'s year. And yes, the consensus is that the SEC defenses are tougher, but those aren't reasons to discount Klein.

Player Year Yards/Game
Collin Klein 2011 235.3
Tim Tebow 2009 271.8
Tim Tebow 2008 244.2

If you just consider yards per game then Klein is right there with Tebow and the national media swooned over Tebow (and rightfully so). The biggest problem for me was that Klein wasn't ever really mentioned as a national Heisman Candidate and he should have been, without question.

In fact, there may not be a more important player returning to a Big 12 team other than Klein and as the Big 12 preseason poll was released and K-State was in the middle of the pack, behind teams like Oklahoma St. that will start a true freshman quarterback. That sort of logic doesn't add up for me. Klein has been there and he's done it and he's under appreciated.

I understand that this is a national award and I understand that it can sometimes be a popularity contest, but let's not forget some of the players that are doing work and are right under out noses. And I write this as a fan of Texas Tech, but I write this because I know what it's like to seemingly have a player go largely ignored because of where he plays. There is something unsettling about this process. I'm fine with the Heisman going to the best player on the best team, or something like that, but the Heisman needs to do a better job of shining that spotlight on players who deserve credit.

This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.

EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13 TV: "Son" (via EASPORTS)

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