We're moving on in our series pegging the single player each team in the Big 12 can't afford to lose. He's also the player who will be most responsible for the team's ultimate success.
Next up: The Kansas State Wildcats.
Most indispensable player: QB Collin Klein
2011 stats: Rushed 317 times for 1,141 yards (3.6 yards per carry) and 27 touchdowns. Completed 161 of 281 passes (57.3 percent) for 1,918 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Why Kansas State can't afford to lose him: It's a little silly to even have this conversation. Of all the teams thus far, this selection took the least amount of thought. Klein is more indispensable to Kansas State than any player in the Big 12 is to his respective team. It may not even be close.
Klein accounted for 69.8 percent of the Wildcats' offense last season, and he either carried or threw the ball on just under 67 percent of Kansas State's offensive snaps (598 out of 986). No Big 12 player sniffed anything close to that last year. Klein led the Big 12 in carries by 67 touches, and if K-State ever lost him, I'm not quite sure where the Wildcats' offense would turn. His 27 touchdowns tied a Big 12 record set by Heisman winner and Texas legend Ricky Williams.
Klein took shot after shot last year and never seemed to get fazed. His passing acumen got better and better as the season progressed and he gained experience, but he always had enough to keep defenses honest and open up lanes for him to tuck the ball and run on passing plays.
K-State was one of the most frustrating offenses in the Big 12 to stop last year. All substance. No flash. Klein is the reason.