Kansas State may have lost a thriller to Oklahoma State, but the blame for that shouldn't be directed anywhere near Kansas State QB Collin Klein. He may have been unable to get the Wildcats the game-tying touchdown as time expired, but Kansas State was only in the game in the first place because Klein had brought them there. He played with determination and reckless disregard for his own safety in order to do his best to put his team in a position to win the game.
Which is exactly how Collin Klein has played this entire season; with disregard for his own safety in order to give Kansas State the best chance to win. That makes him easily the toughest player in college football this season.
It may seem like a bit of a stretch to say that a QB who only has nine passing touchdowns through nine games is the toughest, grittiest player in the nation. However, Klein is also the Wildcats' leading rusher, with 206 rushing attempts for 906 yards and 19 touchdowns.
That's right, a quarterback has over 200 rush attempts and he doesn't even play in a triple-option offense, where quarterbacks are expected to rush often. That means that Klein is not playing the role of a glorified running back who occasionally throws a pass—rather he is a true quarterback who isn't afraid to open himself up to a whole lot of big hits in order to gain some yards.
Klein has been seen on camera this season with his jersey tattered and stained with just about everything—from grass, dirt and paint from the field to paint from opposing teams' helmets and even blood. Yet he hasn't changed his playing style and continues fighting for every last yard even while taking hit after punishing hit.
If that doesn't make Klein the toughest player in the nation, the criteria for awarding that title needs to change.