Big 12 News

Chris Klieman: ‘Maturity’ Drew K-State to Adrian Martinez

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days

Maturity drew Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman to former Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez in the transfer portal.

But it was what Martinez did when he arrived in Manhattan that validated Klieman’s decision to bring in the former Cornhuskers product.


Martinez was hurt and couldn’t play until the final two practices of the spring. But that didn’t stop Martinez from doing what he could to be a leader.

“He bonded with our players and built relationships with them when he couldn’t be out from leading in a practice or a workout,” Klieman said Wednesday at Big 12 Media Days. “To see him not be cleared (medically) and still command the room, he’s a tremendously mature individual that brings out the best in everyone. That’s what excites me about him.”

Klieman wanted a mature quarterback to replace Skylar Thompson, who ran out of eligibility after last season. He started 40 games, more than any K-State quarterback in history, and threw for more than 8,000 yards.

Martinez was one of the few quarterbacks on the transfer market that had the requisite experience. Martinez amassed more than 10,000 yards rushing and passing with the Cornhuskers.

Martinez is emblematic of the new world of college football and what ultimately makes teams successful, Klieman said.

“It’s the new players that you have to mesh with your returning players that are going to be the key to your success,” Klieman said.

Kansas State is coming off a 2021 in which it went 8-5 overall and 4-5 in Big 12 action. The Wildcats reached the Texas Bowl, where they beat LSU, 42-20. That put the Wildcats at 20-16 after three seasons under head coach Chris Klieman.

The Wildcats are a trendy pick to be a potential spoiler in the Big 12 because they return 10 starters, chief among them running back Deuce Vaughn, who is perhaps the most versatile player in the league. He led Kansas State with 1,404 yards rushing with 18 touchdowns and caught another 49 passes with 468 yards and four touchdowns. His reception total led the team.


He, along with Kansas State pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah, give the Wildcats a pair of potential All-America candidates for 2022.

The Wildcats open the season on Sept. 3 at home against South Dakota, followed by home games with Missouri on Sept. 10 and Tulane on Sept. 17. Kansas State opens Big 12 play at Oklahoma on Sept. 24.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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