- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
The ESPN 300 prospect was among the hardest Texas targets to get a read on throughout his recruitment. He didn’t play games, didn’t name favorites or accept many interview requests. Unlike most recruits these days, he played things close to the vest.
Quietly, though, he faced a legitimately difficult choice that nearly every versatile athlete of his caliber runs into: Which school can best develop his talents?
At 6 feet and 190 pounds, Collins can be a lot of things in the college game. Texas initially recruited him as a receiver. Then secondary coach Duane Akina got a good look at him and preferred him as a defensive back.
The “athlete” label and how coaches treat it is a tricky one. This summer, Collins said he didn’t prefer playing defense but didn’t mind it either. Oklahoma leaned more toward making Collins a wideout.
In the end, he had to choose the program that best fit him. The position will work itself out down the road. And besides, Texas’ recent track record – 2012 athlete signees Kendall Sanders and Daje Johnson, for example, both got to play receiver this year as was their preference – suggests Collins will get a fair shot when he joins the program.
Landing a pledge from Collins is an important victory for Akina and Texas’ defensive class. The Longhorns entered the day with pledges from two defensive backs, from Bastrop (Texas) corner Antwuan Davis and Cibolo (Texas) Steele safety Erik Huhn. A torn ACL has sidelined Huhn for almost the entirety of his senior year.
Beyond those two, though, Texas was running out of DB options. Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton corner Cole Luke took an official visit to Austin this weekend, and Marcell Harris (Orlando/Dr. Phillips) made an official earlier this year. Neither out-of-state target is a lock to land with Texas.
By getting Collins, Akina and the staff now has options. Texas could conceivably talk itself into taking three DBs for the 2013 class if Luke and Harris don’t work out, because the class of 2014 defensive backs in this state is a veritable treasure trove.
No matter who comes next, Collins is an important pickup. It certainly doesn’t hurt to land a victory over Oklahoma to start off Red River Rivalry week.