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Gameday: Nadkarni: Looking forward to the future of Kain Colter

Despite+the+team%E2%80%99s+0-6+record%2C+Kain+Colter+is+a+bright+spot+in+Northwestern%E2%80%99s+dark+season.+He+will+leave+Evanston+as+a+bowl-winning+quarterback+and+with+a+degree+in+psychology.
Despite the team’s 0-6 record, Kain Colter is a bright spot in Northwestern’s dark season. He will leave Evanston as a bowl-winning quarterback and with a degree in psychology.

Despite the team’s 0-6 record, Kain Colter is a bright spot in Northwestern’s dark season. He will leave Evanston as a bowl-winning quarterback and with a degree in psychology.

Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Despite the team’s 0-6 record, Kain Colter is a bright spot in Northwestern’s dark season. He will leave Evanston as a bowl-winning quarterback and with a degree in psychology.

Rohan Nadkarni, Gameday Editor

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I couldn’t wait for Kain Colter to get off the field. That was my first memory of him.

I arrived at Northwestern my freshman year completely swept up in the Dan Persa hype. For all I knew, our normal starting quarterback was a legitimate Heisman contender.

But the first football game I ever watched, Kain struggled mightily against Army, kicking off a five-game losing streak.

It wasn’t until the Nebraska game in 2011 I kind of started warming up to the guy. In fact, in one of the first few columns I ever wrote for The Daily, I suggested Kain should not play at all once Persa returned to the field.

It’s funny how things change.

Over the last three years, Kain has come to embody what it means to be an athlete at this school. Aside from his play on the field, where he’s dominated as a rusher, receiver and passer, Kain is the prime example of what our athletes can accomplish here.

He’s rumored to be interested in becoming a doctor if his pro career does not pan out. And this season, Kain became one of the faces of the All Players United movement, a group of college athletes trying to give more rights to their fellow players.

With Kain down to his last few games on the field, he won’t even see the benefits he’s been campaigning for. His dedication to the cause, however, means Kain will keep pushing for college athletes even when he’s no longer one himself.

Of course, my favorite memory of Kain comes from on the field, quite literally.

Kain started the Gator Bowl, not only the Wildcats’ first bowl win since 1949, but also the last great memory of a team suffering through a hellish 2013 season.

As the game ended, I ran around the field, trying to soak everything in. Soon, I found Kain, and rather awkwardly I began following him around. I took pictures of him as he gave high fives to students in the stands. And then, as he sang the fight song, I walked up literally a few feet in front of Kain’s face and snapped even more photos.

At the end of the day, my parents and I began driving home from Jacksonville, Fla. My parents had just attended their first NU football game. I got them tickets in the Bud Light Party Zone, so in addition to great seats, they got to enjoy a beer during the game.

My parents became pretty solid fans that day.

My dad waved a foam finger every time the Cats made a big play. Literally. He wasn’t wearing the foam finger. He held it up in the air and waved it after every interception and touchdown. He also rocked a student section T-shirt.

My mom sported my Medill hoodie, uploading pictures to Facebook of the big day. She’d been following NU throughout the season, learning more and more every week by asking me about my articles in The Daily.

As we drove home, my parents couldn’t stop talking about how great Kain was, how “fast that No. 2 guy ran” and how cool it was that “he could run like that and throw like that.”

I’ve been lucky enough to speak to Kain a couple times one-on-one, not always an easy feat for an athlete as popular as him. At Big Ten Media Days in 2012, he told me he preferred Plex pasta to Plex burritos. After a spring practice last year, I asked him if anyone ever used his real name, Theodis. (Apparently his mom does, but only when she’s really angry.)

Unfortunately, the athletic department declined my request to speak to Kain for this story. I wanted to ask him about how he ended up choosing NU, the trials of playing as a freshman, the euphoria of winning a bowl game and the frustration of going through this season.

I also wanted to thank him. Thank him, and all the seniors, for turning my parents into fans. For giving me the confidence to brag to everyone not about my school’s U.S. News & World Report’s college ranking, but about our rightful place in the AP Top 25 for football.

I’m hoping my last memory of Kain the football player won’t come in this season’s last game at Illinois. Kain was invited to the senior bowl as a wide receiver, where he’ll get a chance to showcase his skills to professional scouts.

My hope is that he’ll make it in the NFL, maybe starring as a receiver for a number of years and making the occasional cameo at quarterback, ensuring that everyone will remember how special of an athlete we were lucky to have in Evanston.

After three years of watching Kain play, I can’t wait for him to get back on the field.

Email: rohannadkarni2015@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @Rohan_NU

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About the Writer
Rohan Nadkarni, Gameday Editor

Rohan Nadkarni is the Gameday editor of The Daily and a Medill junior. His past positions include Sports editor, assistant Sports editor and football beat...