When Tim Tebow jumped from college football to the NFL his production and skills didn't make the trip.
Fans of Tebow are most likely disappointed with the less-than-impressive results he has produced as a passer in the professional game. But for his most loyal followers who miss his glory days at Florida, they can still relive his successes through the body of another player. The next "Tim Tebow" -- Kansas State's Collin Klein.
Two inches taller at 6'5" and a few pounds less at 226, Klein has become the poor man's Tebow -- but does anyone in America know he exists?
Klein doesn't carry the fairy tale back-story that has attracted millions to the Tim Tebow brand. In fact, it's hard to track down much of a background at all for the Wildcats' dual-threat quarterback. The native of Loveland, Colorado, Klein was an excellent prep star (a Rivals.com three-star prospect) and came into K-State tabbed as the seventh best player in the state.
The Wildcats had alternate plans for him and slated him in as a wide receiver in 2009 where he actually hauled in a touchdown reception during the year. Luckily for Kansas State -- and Klein -- the staff came to their senses and reinserted him at quarterback in the 2011 season.
Big-12 defenses haven't forgiven them and the Wildcats haven't stopped long enough to hear the complaints. Bulldozing his way through the league and nation, Klein hasn't produced the kind of numbers that show up on stat headlines, but his arm isn't what opponents fear -- it's his legs.
1,690 yards worth of legs so far in his career to be exact. With one full year of starting time (2011) under his belt, Klein has amassed an impressive 36 rushing touchdowns from the quarterback position -- 27 of them coming in 2011. During that same season, Klein built up 1,141 yards on 317 carries -- good enough for 3.6 yards per attempt.
But the workload hasn't stopped there. Klein has been anything but a one-trick cat for Kansas State. During the 2011 campaign, the gun-slinging bruiser completed 161 passes on 281 attempts for 1,918 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Add it all up if you dare. That's 40 touchdowns over 13 games in 2011 -- slightly more than three touchdowns per game. And so far in 2012 he's added another six touchdowns across two games -- a consistent three per game. Over Tebow's career (55 games) he stacked up 88 passing and 55 rushing scores for 143 total -- good enough for 2.6 per game. And that's with numerous weapons around him on national championship contending squads at Florida.
Klein is carrying Kansas State's offense with a steady and efficient arm, but more literally he's hauling them up and down the field with his legs. He's building the legend and carrying the Wildcats similar to RG3 and Baylor in 2011.
Three touchdowns at a time. One opponent at a time. And if America wakes up, perhaps one Heisman at a time.
Sound Off: Do you think Collin Klein is as good as Tim Tebow? Do you think he has a realistic shot at the Heisman?
Justin Mikels is a staff writer for Operation Sports. Follow him on Twitter: @long_snapper