One of the Missouri Tigers football team’s top newcomers this season arrived in Columbia via a tip from a former Tiger.
Missouri wide receivers coach Andy Hill received a recommendation to take a look at then-Saddleback Community College wide receiver Dominic Collins from one of his old teammates with the Tigers.
“Steve Crapo, who I played with at Mizzou, is the D-coordinator at Saddleback Junior College,” Hill said. “He called me and said, ‘Hey, nobody’s recruiting this kid but he caught 70-some passes last year and he’s a playmaker, he’s a great kid and just look at him on film and see what you think.’
“I think most guys didn’t recruit him because they thought he’s a little thin, but he’s got speed and he’s real slippery. He’s got good ability to get off people that are nearby him and then real good skill to catch the football.”
Collins, a 6-foot-2, 175-pounder, could be a key player for Missouri this season, especially with returning starter Nate Brown sidelined with a high ankle sprain.
The Tigers have a lot of candidates at wide receiver, mostly underclassmen, but Collins brings a mix of size and speed and game experience, from the junior college level, that his teammates don’t necessarily have.
What skill set does Collins think he brings to the Tigers?
“Explosive plays. Deep balls, especially,” Collins said. “When the ball is in the air deep, 30 to 40 yards down the field, we have to complete those.”
Collins was a prolific playmaker at El Toro High School, where he posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving season and finished his career with 3,088 yards receiving and 35 receiving touchdowns.
In sophomore season at Saddleback, in 2015, he led the Gauchos with 78 receptions, 1,299 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 games. In 23 games over two seasons at Saddleback, Collins scored 23 touchdowns.
The Tigers need more production out of their wide receivers, something they struggled with a year ago when J'Mon Moore and Brown were the leading receivers as sophomores.
Moore caught 29 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns. Brown had 27 receptions for 326 yards and four scores. After those two, no returning player had more than tight end Sean Culkin's 16 catches or running back Ish Witter's 143 yards receiving.
"Dominic Collins has a real good feel for catching the ball, getting his body in good position,” Hill said.
Collins said learning a new offense hasn’t been tough, but he’s had to work to develop chemistry with the quarterback and other wide receivers.
“I played in a spread system all throughout my high school and junior college career, so I’m very familiar with the spread offense and the tempo and the speed,” he said. “So, for the most part, I’m pretty acclimated to that aspect. It’s more so chemistry, getting chemistry with the quarterbacks, chemistry with the other wide receivers.
“We need to help each other out as much as we can even though we’re competing to play. The mixture of those both have been kind of tough, but it’s a day-by-day thing and we’re getting there.”
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