MANHATTAN — When David Arkin committed to Missouri State, he gave up on his dream of playing big-time college football.
He knew the nation's best competed in a classification above the Bears' Football Championship Subdivision, and MSU's 16,600-seat stadium was much smaller than those across the region. But he was fine with that.
After getting looks from only junior college and Division II programs throughout much of his high school career, the former Kapaun Mount Carmel standout was happy to receive a scholarship offer from Missouri State.
He says he likes his role as a leader on the Bears' offensive line. Earning preseason All-America honors last month wasn't bad, either.
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"I would say I've definitely enjoyed my college experience," Arkin said.
But that doesn't mean the senior left tackle won't feel an adrenaline rush when he steps on the field at 6:10 tonight at Kansas State.
Though his goals for the season include winning a Missouri Valley Football Conference title and helping his team reach the FCS playoffs, he still treasures the opportunity to face off against Big 12 competition and play in front a big crowd. Today, he gets a taste.
"A lot of the guys on our team are like me, from the Midwest and Kansas," Arkin said. "It means a lot to us playing in a big atmosphere in front of a lot of their family and friends. It's a real big deal for us to come out here and show our talents and our skills."
Missouri State traditionally plays one Bowl Subdivision opponent each season, and Arkin always looks forward to it.
Today is no different. He guesses more family members will be in attendance than for his home games.
"I should see a few familiar faces in the crowd," Arkin said. "My parents don't live far, and I've probably got a lot more people that are closer to Manhattan than Springfield."
Arkin hopes to put on a good show. If he plays like his usual self, that won't be a problem. Following a redshirt year that helped the 6-foot-5 lineman bulk up to 302 pounds and learn Missouri State's blocking schemes, he became one of the best offensive linemen in the FCS.
He has started 34 consecutive games and earned all-conference honors three times. During most of his college career he played right guard, but coaches moved him to left tackle at the end of last season.
His size and versatility have made him a possible NFL Draft pick.
Arkin doesn't know what to say about his future. If a career in football is possible, that's something he would like to pursue. If not, he is set to graduate in December with a degree in construction management. Something will work out.
All he knows is he's happy with where his college football career has taken him so far.
"I've accomplished a lot of my goals," Arkin said. "I've played in a lot of games. I really like it up here. It's a nice atmosphere. I didn't really have the opportunity to play at a lot of other places. I'm just thankful I got to play up here."
K-State, Virginia Tech drop series — Kansas State reached a mutual agreement with Virginia Tech to call off their home-and-home series scheduled for 2014 and 2016. In a letter to fans from John Currie, K-State's athletic director indicated there will be no financial penalty.
Last month, K-State canceled a home-and-home series against Oregon. In a recent interview with The Eagle, Currie said he was strongly considering scrubbing the Wildcats' series with Virginia Tech because it did not fit with the Big 12's future nine-game conference schedule.