Kansas State’s win over the Oklahoma Sooners last Saturday was clearly a statement game for the Wildcats.
But now it appears it was perhaps even more of a statement game for quarterback Collin Klein, who has surged up multiple Heisman Trophy candidate lists this week.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Todd McShay tabbed Klein as the No. 1 candidate through Week 4.
“What do you say about him,” McShay said during a segment on SportsCenter Wednesday. “He’s just a winner.”
McShay’s top five candidates also included West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.
Klein, who has completed 70 percent of his passes for 758 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for another 289 yards and five more scores, is the Wildcats’ first legitimate Heisman candidate since Darren Sproles.
The closest K-State has come to having a Heisman winner was in 1998 when quarterback Michael Bishop finished second behind Texas running back Ricky Williams.
Klein, who appeared on The Dan Patrick Show Thursday morning, is second in the chase right now according to CBSsports.com/The Heisman Pundit, behind Smith.
K-State coach Bill Snyder wasn’t too pleased, though, when he was asked Tuesday about Klein’s candidacy for the award.
“Why would you ask me that question?” Snyder said. “That’s not a fair question to ask. I don’t know. I haven’t seen all the candidates. I don’t know who’s on the list. I think Collin is a marvelous person and a marvelous player.
“I think he’s deserving of any award that’s out there. If the Heisman is one, then I think he is. Again, I don’t know who the competition is — I haven’t seen the competition.”
Klein diffused any talk of winning the Heisman Trophy, as expected.
“It’s a tremendous honor — it’s very appreciated — but that doesn’t matter right now,” said Klein, who even sang a hymn on The Dan Patrick Show. “From the standpoint of the business that we have in front of us to take care of, I’m just trying to play and give back to the Lord for everything that he’s given me, for his glory, for his praise and whatever he brings to me and our team at the end of the season I’m going to be grateful and it’ll be awesome, whatever that is.
“We just have to be tough enough, mentally focused enough and disciplined enough to just focus on what we’re doing right now, keep trying to get better, and all that stuff. Rankings and awards will take care of itself at the end.”