In Kansas State circles, quarterback Collin Klein has often been referred to as the Tim Tebow of the Midwest.
It's not just because of Klein's bruising style on the field, but also because of his devotion to his faith off it. As a devout Christian, who grew up homeschooled in Loveland, Colo., Klein was taught to trust in his faith and allow it to guide him.
So far, he says his faith has guided him to the best things in his life — his wife Shalin, Kansas State and his first kiss.
That's right, Klein, 23, didn't have his first kiss until he and Shalin solidified their vows on July 21. Much like everything Klein does in his life, he was very deliberate about waiting for the right person, the right moment and the right time.
Klein met Kansas State women's basketball player Shalin Spani at the beginning of the 2011 fall semester. They were friends, but one day, Klein said God spoke to him and told him he needed to pursue a deeper relationship with her.
"I felt in late December that God put on my heart and spoke to me and told me that Shalin was a special girl and that I was gonna marry her," Klein told Yahoo! Sports. "I just started praying. I didn't tell anybody because we hadn't talked at all about that to that point. So that happened and I was just praying that God's rule would be done and he would put on my heart what I was supposed to do, when I was supposed to do it and give me the courage to do it."
Klein said Spani had a similar message from God and the two decided to go on their first date on Jan. 30. They were engaged Feb. 17 and married July 21 when he finally had the moment for which he'd been waiting. Klein doesn't begrudge the 10 or so years he missed out on kissing girls. He knew his time would be something special.
You can call Klein's decision and his devotion to a higher power strange -- a lot people probably do -- but that belief in being placed on a certain path is what has gotten Klein through a lot of his life.
That's how he got to Kansas State.
When Kansas State came calling and wanted him to be the quarterback to lead the program out of the doldrums and back into the prominence the university enjoyed a few decades ago, he knew it was the right decision.
Similar to God telling Klein whom to marry (and whom to kiss), He also told him where to go to school.
"I just knew it was K-State," Klein said. "I had so much peace about it. I committed the same day as I was offered and I knew it was where I was supposed to be.
"God has been very faithful and good to me that way."
Little did Klein know that he would not only lead Kansas State back to prosperity, but put the program on the cusp of a national championship berth and put himself in the forefront of the Heisman race.
Klein's proud of his faith and despite some of the perceived quirks and nontraditional directions he's followed, he's sure every step he's taken -- along with preparation -- has put him in this moment.
Klein doesn't mind the comparisons to Tebow. After all, Tebow, who was also homeschooled, did lead his team to a national championship and win a Heisman Trophy. But he also became — and still is — one of the most polarizing figures in sports because of how open he was about his religion and his devotion to it.
"I would say the thing we have most in common is the thing that's most important to us, and that's our faith and our relationship with Christ and everything flows through that," Klein said of Tebow. "It's an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence. I'm very grateful and I know what's most important to us both."
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