The Heisman and Kansas State don’t have much of a past together.
For a while it looked like Wildcats senior quarterback Collin Klein might change that. He led the HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll for four weeks from mid-October until mid-November. If not for his team’s 52-24 debacle at Baylor, Klein would be giving the trophy its first kiss from a Kansas State player on Saturday.
Before Klein, the pickings are slim to find a Wildcat in any Manhattan other than the one in Kansas.
Back in 2003, running back Darren Sproles rushed for 1,948 yards, scored 17 touchdowns and led the Wildcats to a 35-7 smashing of No. 1 Oklahoma, led by eventual Heisman winner Jason White, in the Big 12 title game. That was enough to entice six voters to put Sproles on top of their ballots. He did get a healthy smattering of seconds and thirds for a total of 101 points, enabling him to place fifth behind White (1,628), Larry Fitzgerald (1,552), Eli Manning (619) and Chris Perry (566), but he was not invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony.
The closest a Wildcat has come to winning the Heisman was 1998. Only, not really. Quarterback Michael Bishop threw for 2,844 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 748 yards and 14 scores, to lead K-State to an 11-2 record. Bishop was the runner up that year in the Heisman vote to Ricky Williams of Texas. But Williams’ 2,355 points was 1,563 points ahead of Bishop’s total of 792, which means that, technically, Sproles in 2003 was 36 points closer to White’s winning total.
Other than Bishop and Sproles, you have to go back to 1970 to find another Kansas State Wildcat in the Heisman conversation.
Lynn Dickey was a senior quarterback for the Wildcats that year. He threw for 2,163 yards as K-State went 6-5. For his efforts, he received six first-place votes and finished 10th in the final tally, well behind winner Jim Plunkett of Stanford. He went on to star for the Green Bay Packers.
Kansas State is ranked eighth in the Big 12 in HeismanPundit’s ranking of the top Heisman programs, which measures the total impact of schools in Heisman history.
If Bill Snyder can keep his program chugging along at it current rate, it’s only a matter of time before a Wildcat makes it to New York and comes back with the school’s first Heisman.