The candidate with the most traction to be the next offensive coordinator for Notre Dame football appears to be Kansas State’s Collin Klein. A former quarterback for the Wildcats, Klein was a Heisman Trophy finalist alongside the latest finalist for the Irish, Manti Te’o, in 2012.
Klein has had loads of success as a college quarterback, and while he wasn’t the best passer in the game, he was an outstanding dual-threat QB. In 2012, Klein threw for 2641 yards while also rushing for 920; he added a combined 39 touchdowns. Sam Hartman hasn’t always been considered a running quarterback; having Klein work with Tyler Buchner could pay dividends for the young quarterback should he stay in South Bend.
Kansas State was ranked 41st this year in total offense, averaging 418.8 yards per game. Their passing offense was ranked 93rd overall, while their run game was in the top 15 at 15th. A former Heisman contending quarterback with a solid concept of the run game is precisely the type of offensive coordinator Marcus Freeman should be looking for.
It wouldn’t make much sense to focus on a coach that could look to bring in a completely different playstyle than what Notre Dame football is. Running the ball carried the team this year; while they shouldn’t stray from that, an efficient air attack is needed.
Nothing seems imminent, but it was reported there was mutual interest from Kansas State beat writer Kellis Robinett. Klein isn’t a name I’ve heard much of until Kellis made it known the two have been in contact.
Whoever Freeman decides to go with will be a true make-or-break hire for the young Notre Dame football head coach. Klein is 33 and has one year of play-calling under his belt; that’s not a lot of experience for a brand-new head coach to lean on.