I went from the Little Apple to the big one, apparently, to cover a player I voted for -not win the Heisman Trophy.

The pundits, many of them self-described, say that Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel will win the award given annually to college football's best player. Five of the last six Davey O'Brien winners (nation's top quarterback) have gone on to claim the Heisman. Last night in Orlando, Manzeil won the O'Brien Award. I wouldn't contest a Manziel win in New York, I did have him third on my ballot-- but Collin Klein is my winner.

Follow @BruceHaertl on Twitter for updates from NYC

I generally try to avoid claims of the absolute, as age and memory combine to dull my memory-but I can safely say that I've never covered an athlete that I like more than Collin Klein. It's so rare to be sure of anyone being beyond reproach, let alone someone so young- but I'm confident describing the Kansas State quarterback that way.  

Klein's prowess on the field is self-evident-he's a Heisman finalist-but those who have come to know him exalt more in the man than the player. Klein may be the greatest leader that Bill Snyder has ever coached and that's remarkable when you consider the potentially polarizing nature of his faith. There are two things I never argue about-politics and religion.  I don't know about Klein's politics, but everyone knows about his religion. 

Klein has always been guided by his faith, it's who he is and he makes no apologies for it. According to his teammates, he's never preached it, never forced it on anyone. It's the consistency of his character and integrity that touches others.   That he's able to lead in such a popular and unquestioned manner speaks to the respect he commands from his teammates.   His teammates are not only inspired by his example --they don't want to disappoint him.  Oddly, I too have felt this.

I was interviewing Klein after K-State's win at Iowa State earlier this season, when a mild expletive slipped from my mouth. Collin showed no reaction-he just smiled, answered that question and a couple of others before being ushered away.  Afterwards, I felt poorly about my language even though it was relatively tame by my standards.

There I was, more than twice his senior-sorry that I had been slightly 'off colored' around such a guy.  As silly as it sounds, it gave me a little insight into how this guy affects people-affects them for the better.

Klein doesn't arrive in New York until Saturday morning, but I'll try to keep you abreast of what's going on at the Heisman right here on KWCH.com or on Twitter @BruceHaertl.