The Next Great Rocket Back

There is no doubt that Jalen Parmele was the workhorse in the Toledo backfield last season, but with Parmele now playing for the Miami Dolphins it is time for a new workhorse to emerge. That player is junior DaJuane Collins.Collins averaged 6.4 yards per rush in 2007, better than Parmele's 5.5 average. DaJuane also had 7 rushing touchdowns and 636 rushing yards for the Rockets.

There is no doubt that Jalen Parmele was the workhorse in the Toledo backfield last season, but with Parmele now playing for the Miami Dolphins it is time for a new workhorse to emerge. That player is junior DaJuane Collins.

Collins averaged 6.4 yards per rush in 2007, better than Parmele's 5.5 average. DaJuane also had 7 rushing touchdowns and 636 rushing yards for the Rockets.

DaJuane has entered fall camp looking stronger and faster than last season. Rocket Digest reporter Karl Rofkar recently talked to DaJaune about the upcoming season.

He has not been taking his likely starting role for granted in the off-season. Saying that "there's always competition," he told me that he knew he had to work on his explosiveness and stepping up and taking the leadership role. "Every day we come out here to practice, I feel that if I'm going hard, it shows the younger guys that if he's going hard, than we should be going hard," said DaJuane.

As for being at the top of the depth chart, DaJuane knows what he needs to do to stay there. "Keep working, keep getting better," DaJuane told Rocket Digest.

Rocket Digest asked DaJuane to talk a little bit about the depth at running back for the Rockets this year. In what came as a surprise to a lot of fans, last year's #3 back (Gordon Warner) was recently listed as #5 on the depth chart and a possible slot receiver. DaJuane said that the Rockets do have a lot of depth. "We got a couple of young guys coming in," said Collins. He continued, "once the young guys et ahold of the offense, they're going to be great. We'll have a good rotation, a good balance of speed and power."

The key, again, is to keep getting better every day, and Collins said the offensive line is doing that as well. The Rockets lost three starters from last year's offensive front, so filling those positions well will be a key to the success of the talented pool of running backs.

"Coach Clayton has done a tremendous job with those guys, getting them ready, and every day they just come out ready to pound it out, ready to sweat," Collins said about the offensive line. He continued, "they tell me every day it's gonna be our day, so I'm looking forward to it.

To Collins the focus is not yet on Arizona, though "you can't help but to have it in the back of your mind."

He said they're just trying to get in sync with their new offensive coordinator, Chris Hedden. "We've got a couple of tweaks to the offense," said DaJuane. "Right now I'm trying to keep the focus on camp."

As for offensive coordinator Chris Hedden, he's got Collins' full support, saying "his main thing is hustle. If you do it wrong, but you give 110%, it won't be as bad."

DaJuane said it is too early for him to think too much about goals, but "we just can't have another 5-7 year." Only time will tell, but if the Rockets have a great year and go to a bowl game it will have a lot to do with DaJuane Collins.



Rocket Digest Top Stories