Sports Spotlight: Elijah Klein

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MANDAN, N.D. - He's simply one of the best receivers in high school football and he has the numbers to back it up.

Elijah Klein is a dominant athlete in both basketball and football for the Mandan Braves. Klein is an All-State performer in both sports but football has always been his favorite.

"Between Basketball and football ever since I was little I always liked football more whether it's playing at recess on the playground and stuff like that," said Klein.

During the 2018 season, Klein had the most receiving yards in the state. Dane Carlson threw for over 16-hundred yards and 16 touchdowns. Klein hauled in more than 11-hundred of those yards and 10 touchdowns.

"Everything he does out there if there's nothing there you can just throw it up to him he's fast he's a freak athlete he can go up and get any ball that you put up there it’s nice to have an outlet guy you can look over there and have a guy that can out jump anyone. People say his height makes him great at any sport but I say his speed he's probably one of the fastest receivers in the state," said Carlson.

Braves head coach Todd Sheldon designs plays to get Klein touches on Friday nights but Klein's presence away from the ball is just as valuable to the Braves offense.

"You know the height, the speed, the strength those are things that don't get replicated it’s a process for teams to have to go through to figure out how to defend them and we expect some junk defenses through the course of the year and all that does is give opportunities for our athletes to get involved in the offense," Sheldon said.

Klein's dominance caught the attention of college coaches from across the state. Elijah was most intrigued with the University of North Dakota and head Coach Bubba Schweigert.

"The coaches just pursued it really hard, showed the interest and just made me feel welcome and that's why I picked. He really just expressed the ways they would use me on the field what we do going through what do going through a day would look like and all that kind of stuff and they just had the winning mentality they want to build and keep going," said Klein.

Klein is just a few hundred yards away from breaking the state record for most receiving yards in a high school career.