DENVER (CBS4) – Collin Klein really doesn’t care what any of the so-called “experts” think. If he did, he would’ve never played quarterback at the highest level in college. And he certainly wouldn’t be in position to play quarterback in the NFL. But here he is. The home-schooled kid from Loveland is ready to prove more people wrong.
Before he was Collin Klein “Heisman Finalist,” he was Collin Klein “Loveland’s Finest.” As the quarterback at Loveland High School, Klein was one of the top college prospects in the state — and he wanted to stay in state — but it didn’t work out that way.
“I didn’t really get recruited by CU at all. CSU originally, Coach (Sonny) Lubick didn’t offer me, and then Coach (Steve) Fairchild came in and I was already committed; (he) offered late,” Klein said. “It’s one of those programs that was doing what they thought was best for them at the time. You can’t fault them for that.”
He holds no grudges — his parents taught him better. His father Doug Klein played quarterback at Fairview High School. He knew his oldest son would play quarterback somewhere.
“There was a time, and I’ve shared this on a number of occasions, when he was pretty young, where we would be out playing catch and he did some things that — you knew,” Doug Klein said.
Hello Manhattan — Manhattan, Kansas — where he came to be known as “Optimus Klein.” Klein shattered the Kansas State University record books, accounting for a mind-boggling 37 touchdowns last season.
In college, Klein was a running quarterback who also threw it pretty well. In the NFL, they want you throw it “really” well. To make it in the pros, he has to sell the scouts on his arm.
“I want to be a passer first, I mean, I’m a quarterback and I’ll do anything, obviously, that our teams needs to win,” he said. “I’ve done that in the past and I know I can make every play there is from the pocket and every single throw there is. So it’s just a matter of getting better at it, honing it, and improving it.”
To help him improve, Klein called on the services of one “Jake the Snake” Plummer, former quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Plummer has become Klein’s personal quarterbacks coach.
“The challenge for me was to give, you know, three-step, five-step, seven-step, play action, working the pocket, getting a nice high release; he’s 6-foot-5, you want him throwing 6-foot-5,” Plummer said. “Use that height and that release. Don’t drop your release down and become a 6-foot-2 player, because I know what that’s like.”
“It’s one of those things, just to have someone who can see it and coach it right there,” Klein said. “It’s so big, and just being able to take his and glean from his perspective has been great.”
“On a side note, when he was a junior I saw him and thought, ‘This kid has it all.’ And our paths crossed, some strange coincidence we crossed paths, and now I’m working with him, so it’s pretty fun,” Plummer said.
Klein hopes to impress the scouts at the NFL Combine next week, and the way the NFL is moving toward running quarterbacks, why not Klein?
“I told Collin I think this is a class that this year — this is not the quarterback class of last year. This year you can really, really make a move in these weeks leading up to the draft,” Denver Post Broncos writer Jeff Legwold said. “Most years, that’s not the case … this year it’s wide open. A lot of teams don’t even have a first round grade on a quarterback.”
The NFL Combine will be held in Indianapolis from Feb. 20 through Feb. 26.