Kansas State's Collin Klein is drawing comparisons to Tim Tebow, and it's not hard to see why.
Like Tebow before him, Klein has made his mark on the NCAA with a physical running game and fearless attitude, and at the midway point of the 2012 season, he's the favorite to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy (h/t USA Today).
Through seven games this season, Klein's stats are staggering:
That's 1,948 total yards and 24 touchdowns in seven games—an average of 278 yards and four touchdowns per game.
In Tebow's final season at Florida, he averaged 272 total yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. His best season at Florida was in 2007—his sophomore and Heisman Trophy-winning season—when he averaged 322 total yards and 4.2 touchdowns per game (h/t Sports-Reference.com).
Beyond the stats, though, Klein possesses similar intangibles and the same fiery leadership and competitive spirit that Tebow displayed at Florida. He runs the ball with an intensity and anger that isn't unlike what we see on a weekly basis from Adrian Peterson, and he has an incredible nose for the end zone.
The Wildcats are currently undefeated. If Klein continues to shine and wills his team to an unblemished record, he's a lock to win this year's Heisman.
Klein's aura on the field is undeniably alluring, and given his obvious physical talents it's likely that he's going to cause at least one NFL team to fall in love with him in the same way that Josh McDaniels fell in love with Tebow in 2010.
One area in which Klein can't be compared to Tebow is in throwing mechanics. Tebow's throwing motion is incredibly elongated and inefficient, but Klein's mechanics are much more refined, as his 70 percent-plus completion percentage indicates.
Better mechanics notwithstanding, Klein isn't a pocket passer. Far from it, he's a running back/tight end playing quarterback. Yes, he has the ability to make all the passes on the field, but his first instinct is always to tuck and run.
Saying all of this, Klein had better hope he's not the next Tebow. Tebow may never get a real opportunity to be a franchise quarterback for any team in the NFL, given what we've seen from his career so far.
Like they did for Tebow, NFL teams will certainly investigate the possibility of drafting Klein to play a position other than quarterback. Given his size (6'5" and 226 pounds), speed, agility and power, teams will be salivating at the possibility of turning him into a tight end.
If Klein has any chance of avoiding the same fate as Tebow, he must do one of two things:
- He must never acquiesce to the idea of becoming a positional player so he can dedicate himself to being the best quarterback he can be.
- He must sell out completely and become the best tight end/receiver he can be.
Will Klein make it in the NFL as a quarterback?
There's no doubt that Klein is one of those guys who qualifies as a "football player." He loves the game and plays it with the kind of passion and all-out, no guts, no glory attitude we all love and admire.
It remains to be seen whether or not his Tebow-esque talents will give him an opportunity to do something in the NFL at the quarterback position, but nobody can deny his heart, passion for the game and natural leadership qualities.
Seems like we've heard that about another quarterback in recent years...