Football standouts Hall, Klieman, prepare to make leap to next level

Advith Natarajan, Staff Writer

For most high school seniors, winter break marks the midpoint of the school year. A time to rest, reboot and recuperate for the final semester of high school. However, seniors Joe Hall and Colby Klieman are preparing for a unique opportunity and challenge: a chance to play college football. 

Both Klieman and Hall had outstanding football seasons this past year, earning first-team all-state honors and all-state honorable mention respectively. Their exceptional play earned them a multitude of college offers. The influx of college attention prompted the two ball players to pursue early graduation in order to train in the spring for the upcoming college football season.

Klieman, who recently committed to Kansas Wesleyan University, found getting familiar with the KWU football program early in the process appealing. 

“They gave me the opportunity to go there early so I just wanted to get a head start,” Klieman said. “Academically [I can] get more classes done and for the football aspect of working out there and being around those teammates.”

Likewise, Hall has garnered attention from a plethora of schools. This includes interests from three Division I colleges, namely Kansas State University, University of Kansas and the University of South Dakota. For the time being, Hall wants to keep his options open in the spring and keep training until he finds a college where he fits best. 

“Before my senior year I got offered by Washburn University then Missouri Southern came in [and] they offered [to] me as well,” Hall said. “A lot of junior colleges [gave offers.] I still keep in contact with a lot of Division I programs like Kansas State, Kansas, South Dakota, places like that. So right now, just every single level, [I am] just trying to keep it open and just go to the place that wants me the most. I think that’s the most important part. I am just going somewhere that you can actually fit in.”

Klieman and Hall have also greatly benefited from the mentorship of coach Darian Taylor. Taylor, a teacher and football coach at MHS who also played college football at Pittsburg State, has helped them navigate their options and make good decisions about their future. 

“Darian Taylor works out with me a lot every single day,” Hall said. “He’s helped me a lot this year.”

Klieman was also very thankful to Taylor for challenging him every day.

“He’s taught us a lot … getting us ready for the next level,” Klieman said. “A lot more mentally too … help us with our toughness and you [have to] have the right attitude to be able to play college football.”

For Taylor, advising the two players and their college football aspirations has been especially gratifying.

“The coolest part about being where I am at right now is that mentorship aspect and just that I have been there and I have done that,” Taylor said. “So for me, it’s been more so trying to give them the blueprint, and let them know about my own struggles and setbacks so they don’t have to make those same mistakes and they have a clearer picture or picture and vision of what they need to do to get to where they want to go. So if playing college ball is what they want to accomplish… I try to give them my two cents of my experience so they can know what to expect and how to go about achieving that already.”

When the final bell rings this Friday, Klieman and Hall will begin a new journey on and off the field. 

“I love this game, love the game of football,” Hall said. “I want to just better myself in it as a person and as a football player.”