Spotlight shining on Kain Colter
Photo Credit: Reid Compton/US Presswire
Photo Credit: Reid Compton/US Presswire Publisher
Posted Jul 26, 2012

As a representative of Northwestern at Big Ten Media Days, the spotlight was on junior quarterback Kain Colter. He must adjust to a new role as a team leader and a public figure. Thus far, he has embraced the challenge.

With a big smile on his face, Kain Colter held Northwestern's new-look Under Armour jerseys for a group of more than 20 television cameras.

"Calm down, this isn't the NFL Draft," joked head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

The grin comes with Colter's job description now. He is not only Northwestern's new starting quarterback, but must be a team leader and serve as the face of the program.

Sure, there aren't any billboards with Colter's face plastered on as Dan Persa had one year prior, but the spotlight is on Northwestern's junior quarterback. He is ready to embrace the challenge.

"The media attention, all of the things that go with that, are great for him," said Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald. "He's doing a great job with it."

Colter took the reins as a team leader as a true sophomore filling in for the injured Dan Persa. During team huddles in the Wildcats' game with Indiana, Colter's teammates surrounded him, offering a vote of confidence. He amounted for 193 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, helping his team to a landslide win.

Following defeat, too -- Northwestern's loss in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, it was Colter who stood before the media and declared it was his time to lead.

That statement carried into the Wildcats' offseason workouts, where Colter filled the void left by his predecessor, Persa, and the departed team captains.

"He has definitely embraced that role," said senior linebacker David Nwabuisi. "He's a great leader, a passionate guy, a guy that anyone would want to follow. We're definitely rocking with him."

Colter must create a positive public image, given the cameras will be on him. That's a new thing for a guy who doesn't even have a Facebook page.

It was just this month in which teammate and roommate Kyle Prater suggested Colter join Twitter, which would help brand his personality to college football fans. Colter agreed to it, but only to bring publicity to the Northwestern program.

"I would never be the guy who's tweeting every second of his life about what he's doing," Colter said. "I'll do it once a day, maybe once a week."

The greatest challenge Colter has faced is commanding presence of the locker room, earning the respect of his teammates, but that was no tough task to tackle.

It was Colter who must organize team workouts, assembling his teammates to the practice field or weight room. The belief in Colter is present, a testament to his leadership.

"The role hasn't taken him, he hasn't been afraid from it or shied from it," said Nwabuisi. "He realizes he's the leader of the team, being the quarterback, and we're only going to go as far as he takes us."

Colter's job as the starting quarterback isn't an easy one, but he has seen both triumphs and tribulations attesting to that statement. He was heralded as the hero in Northwestern's upset over No. 9 Nebraska, but was deemed the weakest link in a loss to Army.

That just comes with the territory as a quarterback, and Colter gets it.

"Quarterback, in my opinion, is the hardest position in all of sports," said Colter. "There's a lot of responsibility put on you. You get all the blame and all the credit. There's a lot of things that rides on the quarterback's shoulders."

However, it's Colter's Joe Cool personality which makes him a perfect candidate for the job.

"It could be a lot of pressure but pressure is really what you put on yourself," said Colter. "I'm going to be myself and play how I play."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Big Red Report, and currently covers the Northwestern Wildcats and Chicago Cubs. He currently resides on Chicago's north side.
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