Kansas State's Collin Klein was awarded for one of the greatest seasons in Wildcat history Thursday as the record-setting quarterback was named the Big 12 Athlete of the Year Thursday, the conference office has announced.
Klein ended his career as the only quarterback from a Bowl Championship Series automatic qualifier school in the BCS era to rush for at least 20 touchdowns and pass for at least 10 in multiple seasons. He also set the FBS record for rushing touchdowns by a signal-caller in consecutive seasons, a mark that now stands at 50, and had a nation's-best 18 games with at least one passing and rushing touchdown since the beginning of the 2011 campaign.
The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year and Manning Award. Klein was named a Second Team All-American by Walter Camp and the Associated Press, while conference coaches selected him the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team. He established K-State top 10 marks in 35 career, season or single-game categories, including eight school records.
A Loveland, Colo., native, Klein was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team and achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average in the Fall of 2012 during football season. He was named to the AFCA Good Works Team and was a Senior CLASS Award and ARA Sportsmanship Award finalist. Klein also served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and participated in many community service projects including Read to Achieve, Adopt a Family, Special Olympics and local church and youth groups.
In addition to Klein, Oklahoma pitcher Keilani Ricketts earned top female honors from the Big 12. Other male nominees for the award were Nick Florence (Baylor), Scott Fernandez (Iowa State), Ben McLemore (Kansas), Kendric Maple (Oklahoma), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Charles Silmon (TCU), Ryan Crouser (Texas), Kennedy Kithuka (Texas Tech) and Harrison Musgrave (West Virginia).
Other female candidates for Big 12 Athlete of the Year included Brittney Griner (Baylor), Betsy Saina (Iowa State), Maggie Hull (Kansas), Petra Niedermayerova (Kansas State), Natalja Piliusina (Oklahoma State), Lorraine Ugen (TCU), Haley Eckerman (Texas), Kim Kaufman (Texas Tech) and Amanda Nugent (West Virginia).
Nominees are submitted by each Big 12 institution and selected, based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship, by a media panel as well as fan voting conducted through the Big 12's social media outlets.