Junior Season Highlights:|
"Coach [Sam] Pittman from UNC said he saw the big difference, saw how hard I was working in getting to where I wanted to be," Collins said. "Basically [he] said I had a lot of potential and wanted to offer me."
East Carolina followed suit a week later by extending a scholarship offer of its own.
"We're getting more and more mail every day," Willard said. "We're getting stuff from SEC schools now. These other schools are starting to hear more about him."
Schools like Auburn, NC State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest have expressed a strong interest in Collins, but want to bring him into camp before offering a scholarship. Collins said he is considering camping at NC State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest this summer.
Collins is currently in the middle of a very busy spring. He has already attended junior days at ECU, UNC, NC State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest. He plans to attend additional junior days at Auburn (March 8th) and Duke (March 29th), and hopes to make both ECU's and UNC's Spring Game.
According to Collins, UNC is recruiting him the hardest followed by ECU. Therefore, it's unsurprising to see those two in-state schools on his soft favorites list.
"Definitely [I'm favoring] the first two that have offered – that's the only two that I can go to right now," Collins said. "UNC has been treating me real well; so has ECU. I'm building a great relationship with both of those schools. Coach Pittman the offensive line coach and Coach [Steve] Hagen, they're real good guys. And then on the ECU side [Donnie] Kirkpatrick is the guy that recruiters our area and then Coach [Steve] Shankweiler – both are great guys that are honest."
Both of Collins' parents are NC State alums. However, that won't factor as much into Collins' recruitment as one might assume.
"When it comes to recruiting, all that stuff just goes out the window," Collins said. "Being a State fan, that doesn't matter. I'm going to go to a school where I'm comfortable with the coaches.... Yea it's been a great time being a fan, but when it comes down to me going to school, I'm going to go to the school that best fits me."
Collins, though, is in no rush to make a decision.
"I'm going to take my time and see where I really fit in the best," Collins said. "… I'm kind of enjoying it right now – I think it's a fun experience. I'm just going to let it play out the way it's supposed to. After March I'll have a better idea of where I'm at [with recruiting], but I'm definitely going to take my time."
With his weight loss, Collins could play almost any position along the offensive line on the collegiate level.
"For awhile there we thought he would have to play guard just because of his feet," Willard said. "But losing this weight now, he might be able to play some tackle. In talking to all the college coaches some love him at right tackle, some love him possibly at left, some love him at guard. It all depends on what the scheme is and what the coaches like. I think he's more comfortable at tackle because that's where he's played."
UNC likes Collins at right tackle.
"Coach Pittman likes me as a tackle because I'm so tall and I have long arms," Collins said. "He thinks I could be a tackle because I'm working on my feet a lot more. At Junior Day when he was talking to me, he said if he had to pick a spot for me, he'd probably want me at right tackle."
Collins mostly plays the left side of East Forsyth lines – predominately at left tackle.
"He's a very strong kid," Willard said. "Obviously being as big as he is, his strength is one of his key things.
"He's a little nasty on the field, but he's a great kid off the field. It's what a coach dreams of – having a kid that's great off the field, but has a little mean streak in him on the field."
After collecting 26 pancake blocks his sophomore season, Collins recorded 56 pancake blocks and allowed only one sack his junior campaign. He has set his goals even higher for his senior season.
"My dad and Coach Willard think I'm crazy, but this year I'm going to try to go for 70 pancakes and have no sacks," Collins said. "I like to set my goals high."
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