The Early Bucks: Stephen Collier

Seven Ohio State recruits in the class of 2014 have enrolled early, which sounds like the makings of a week-long series to us. With that in mind, BSB is profiling the seven players who have already arrived on campus ahead of National Signing Day, starting with quarterback Stephen Collier of Albany, Ga.

Stephen Collier
6-4, 210
Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County
No. 51 QB, three stars
Committed on June 21, 2013

Ohio State Bio: Collier passed for more than 4,000 yards, rushed for another 1,500 yards and had 78 touchdowns (passing and rushing) at Lee County High School for coach Dean Fabrizio ... accounted for a Lee County school-record 44 touchdowns in 2013 to lead his team to a 10-2 record, the Region 1-AAAAA title and a berth in the Georgia state playoffs ... posted 2,291 passing yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior while rushing for 1,021 yards and another 20 touchdowns ... was named Southwest Georgia player of the year, Albany (Ga.) Herald player of the year and "people's choice" player of the year ... big games as a senior included 342-yards passing and four touchdowns over Hamilton Harris County and a 165-yard rushing/366-yard total offense game vs. Effingham ... was invited to the prestigious Elite 11 finals after his junior season ... passed for 1,887 yards and 23 touchdowns, and rushed for an additional 485 yards and 11 scores as a junior ... is the son of Natalie and Stephen Collier Sr.

Collier's Story: He had offers from the likes of Marshall, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Boston College and more before arriving at Ohio State's one-day camp in early June.

"Coach Herman took me inside and put me through some drills," Collier told Scout at the time. "I thought I could have been better, as always. I'm not very complacent and demand perfection out of myself. I'm not where I need to be certainly but Coach Herman showed me some great things that I can use and take with me."

"I'm going to try and work on my mechanics more," he added. "They were a few things here and there that Coach Herman talked to me about that I want to focus on. I thought I had a good day as far as my footwork went and Coach Herman was very complimentary of that. Now it is just a matter of getting better as we go on."

He made a visit to Wake Forest after the trip but came back to Ohio State for another camp in late June and impressed again. That showing finally earned him an offer from the Buckeyes, and Collier didn't wait long to commit.

"They just said I was one of their top guys but that they just wanted to see some other guys throw in front of them," he said. "They wanted me to be patient. They wanted to be sure and they knew that I was probably going to get pursued hard by other colleges. They told me to be patient and that more than likely things would work out in my favor and they were right."

When talking about OSU, Collier in June said, "It was just a situation where I knew where I wanted to be at. Once I visited I knew for sure I wanted to go there. It was just a gut feeling that I knew I wanted to be an Ohio State Buckeye. When I called them and they told me I had an offer, I committed on the spot."

He went on to compete in the Elite 11 and The Opening camps, prestigious events for the top recruits in the country held in late June/early July in Oregon.

"Collier has had a nice week out here," Scout analyst Allen Trieu said at The Opening. "He's come out and especially in the 7-on-7, you can see his command for the game. He takes what the defense gives him, very efficient with the football. He doesn't have a big, overpowering him … but I do see him making smart decisions and being careful with the football."

Originally a native of northern Kentucky, Collier has long been familiar with Ohio State football. As a younger player, he wrote a letter expressing interest in playing major college football, and the one response came from then-head coach Jim Tressel. And when the chance to play for the Buckeyes came up, he didn't wait that long to take advantage.

Now, he's a part of the program as he tries to get acclimated to what he needs to do to be a major part of the Buckeyes' future.

"I felt like it would be an advantage for me to get up there and get acclimated with the school and everything," Collier told BSB in September. "I didn't want to have that 180-degree change over the course of one summer. Also, having that advantage for the football side, just being able to learn the playbook and meet the guys and see how things work. It's definitely a huge advantage when you're talking about getting acclimated to the school."

Early Impact: With Ohio State losing senior backup Kenny Guiton, Collier will be one of four scholarship QBs on the roster for 2014. He might have been in the running for playing time had two-time defending Big Ten Silver Football winner Braxton Miller left for the pros, but with Miller returning, Collier seems ticketed for a redshirt in 2014. Still, he'll get a chance to work with quarterbacks coach Tom Herman as well as Miller, sophomore Cardale Jones and redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett in 2014, and going through spring ball this year will give him a solid knowledge base for when the team must replace Miller in '15.

Expert Take: "He's a bigger kid who throws the ball well. He doesn't have a gun, but he's serviceable, accurate and throws a nice ball. He's not Braxton Miller when it comes to movement, but that's not what they were looking for. He seems like a very smart kid, highly intelligent guy who they were glad to get. What I see as his biggest strength is that he's versatile. He can run it a little bit, he can throw it and he's not a one-dimensional guy at all. He would be able to run your offense, whatever you need him to do." – recruiting analyst Bill Greene

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