Big shoes to fill: Kansas State

The big-shoes bus rolls into Manhattan today. And when talking legendary players, all apologies to David Ubben and his Nick Florence Memorial team, the chatter should begin and end with Kansas State and Collin Klein. But now the time has come to talk about Klein’s, egad, replacement.

Big shoes to fill: Kansas State quarterbacks

OK, really there are big shoes to fill all over the Kansas State roster. And that is nothing new for Bill Snyder. But Klein was a transformative quarterback. He stepped on the field as a starter against Texas in 2010 and turned around a program that had hit bottom in the Ron Prince years and was desperately trying to be resuscitated.

That Klein did it made him one of the top stories of college football in 2011 and 2012 and a Heisman finalist in the latter of those two years. But Klein is gone now to the NFL and quite possibly to the tight end spot. Who knows?

KSU now has to look to someone else. And where else to turn but the junior college ranks? It is Kansas State, after all.

Jake Waters, a dual threat quarterback from Iowa Western Community College, signed with Kansas State over Penn State and will be locked in a battle with sophomore Daniel Sams.

Waters threw for 3,501 yards and 39 touchdowns against three picks on his way to JC All-American honors. He completed 73 percent of his passes and rushed for nearly 300 yards as well. He was selected the NJCAA player of the year.

Klein also helped slightly in the recruiting, placing a call to Waters in between Heisman Trophy obligations, according to the Kansas City Star.

“I was talking to [quarterback coach Del] Miller and Collin got on the phone and he told me congrats on everything I’ve done and that K-State is a great place,” Waters told the Star. “He also said that he was happy for me no matter what.”

As for Sams, he has speed and a bit of experience. He was six of eight for 55 yards in 2012. While he only attempted passes in two games -- against West Virginia and Oklahoma State -- he played in eight. He rushed for 235 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry.

The likely scenario, and one which Snyder has not been adverse to using in the past, is that both players are used to fill Klein’s shoes.