Collins, who stands 6-foot-8, ended his junior season at 326 pounds. Off the advice of college coaches, he spent much of the offseason working to slim down.
Collins' weight loss helped in several other areas of his game.
"When you lose all that weight, your feet are going to get better – and it did." Willart said. "He got better feet, he got quicker, he could move, and I think he became more confident within himself."
"I wasn't tired [during games]," Collins adds. "Endurance kicked in."
Throughout his senior season, Collins didn't allow a single sack and collected approximately 60 pancake blocks.
With Collins anchoring the offensive line at left tackle, East Forsyth ended the regular season with a 10-1 record, including an undefeated conference slate.
"Our main goal was to be solo conference champs and we achieved that," Collins said. "… We had a phenomenal year. The games our junior year that we just barely lost were the games we won this year and put us in the top spot."
"We are now, as I guess you can say, appreciating our season," Willart said. "For a couple weeks there, we were kind of disappointed. Now that we sit back, the kids are happy and they understand that they achieved a lot winning the conference championship – something we haven't done since 1988."
East Forsyth was given the No. 2 seed in the West bracket of the NCHSAA 4AA playoffs. The Eagles easily disposed of Charlotte (N.C.) Myers Park and Huntersville (N.C.) Hopewell in the first two rounds. However, East Forsyth saw its season end against the eventual state champion Rockingham (N.C.) Richmond County in the quarterfinals.
"We came out real slow [against Richmond County]," Willart said. "… We had a turnover inside our own [20-yard line] and then they hit us with a play-action pass for 89 yards in that first half. In the second half, we actually played right with them and we were right there.
"I just think our kids started off slow. Against a great team like Richmond County, you just can't do that."
Over the weekend, Collins took his official visit to UNC, where he was hosted by junior lineman Kyle Jolly.
Last Monday, UNC offensive line coach Sam Pittman visited Collins at his home. During his stay, Pittman broke down UNC's offensive line situation and how Collins fits into the picture.
"He said he's going to have three offensive tackles before spring ball," Collins said. "… With Brennan Williams and me coming in, that's going to help out a lot.
"He said that we're going to fight it out for the tackle position. But he told me ‘Play like you want to start, but know that you're going to be red-shirted.' He said after my red-shirt year, he sees me fighting for a starting spot."
A couple of weeks prior, Collins hosted Butch Davis for an in-home visit. One of the main topics of discussion was Davis' future at UNC.
"[Davis] said ten years ago when he was at Miami, he decided geographically the Piedmont Area of North Carolina was the best place to settle down, because it has the mountains and the beach," Collins said. "And he wanted a safe place to raise his son.
"Ten years ago, he didn't know the UNC job would be available. Now that he has it, he wants it to be his last job."