Collins On The Mend

Once word began to spread that North Carolina pledge Cayson Collins suffered a knee injury, one of the first people to reach out to Collins was his primary recruiter at UNC, Gunter Brewer.

"Something my dad warned me about early on in the process was I should pay attention to the schools that recruit the person, not just the player," Collins said. "I'm sure there would have been other schools that would think I was a wounded horse. But the coaches at Chapel Hill took the time out to make sure everything was alright with me – even on a day that they had a game. That says a lot and strengthens my commitment."

Collins's father's advice wasn't just coming from a concerned parent – it was coming from a parent who has been through the process himself. His father played collegiately at South Carolina.

Brewer did more than just check up on Collins, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker from Charlotte (N.C.) Berry Academy.

"Coach Brewer asked for the information about the doctor's office, so that he could make sure I was being taken care of," Collins said. "That said a lot to me about how they feel about me as a player and person."

Collins eventually learned that he dodged a bullet. He suffered a bruised patella tendon. After sitting out this Friday's game against Charlotte (N.C.) South Mecklenburg, he expects to be cleared to return to practice and play the following Friday against Charlotte (N.C.) Providence.

The genesis of the injury occurred while returning a kickoff against Kannapolis (N.C.) Brown on Sept. 13.

"A guy dove at my knee to try to tackle me," Collins said. "The crown of his helmet hit my knee cap."

Collins continued to play and practice with the bum knee.

"It hurt, but I kept playing on it," Collins said. "It was aggravating me."

Everything came to a head on Friday night during Berry's South Meck 8 Conference opener against Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic, which featured Collins's future teammate Elijah Hood.

"I was rushing through the hole and I was in a stalemate with a lineman," Collins said. "He was pushing me and I was pushing him [until] I tripped over a lineman's foot. When I was on the ground, he stepped on my knee."

Although in pain, Collins was cautiously optimistic about the severity of the injury.

"I really didn't think it was too serious," Collins said. "The athletic trainer, he looked at the knee and ligaments, and he said nothing was out of place and everything was looking how it should. So I knew it wasn't an ACL or MCL [injury].

"But, it had been swelling and that's what he was concerned with was the swelling. But he knew it wasn't too serious, so he calmed me down. But he just told me that it would be best if I sat out the rest of that game and find out what the problem was so that it can get better."

The following day, Collins saw Dr. H. Yates Dunaway, III – who received his undergrad at UNC – at OrthoCarolina.

Prior to injuring his knee – or injuring it more – on Friday night, Collins was planning to attend the UNC-East Carolina game in Chapel Hill on Saturday. A scheduling conflict also prevented him from making the home-opener against Middle Tennessee. Collins says he'll definitely attend "Zero Dark Thursday" and hopes to be at other future UNC home games.

"I need to get back up to Chapel Hill," Collins said.

Outside of Friday's injury, Collins has been having a stellar senior season. According to Berry's defensive staff, Collins has accumulated 105 tackles in less than five games.

Cayson Collins Profile

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