Junior to Watch: LB Jed Collins

Mission Viejo's Jed Collins is considered one of the top linebackers in the west for the class of 2004. Coming off of a year that saw him rack up 113 tackles and All-State honors as well as a second straight CIF Championship, he talks about his recruitment and his plans for the summer.

WeAreSC- What schools are you looking at right now?

Collins- "Right now, I'd say my top-5 would be SC, Notre Dame, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas State."

WeAreSC- Do you have any leaders out of that group?

Collins- "No real favorites, no. Just whoever is going to show the most interest in me."

WeAreSC- Do you have any offers yet?

Collins- "No."

WeAreSC- What are you going to be looking for in the school you choose?

Collins- "First, I'm going to college to get my academic degree, so whatever I decide to major in would be somewhat of a priority on my list. Just the overall academic field. Then, just how the coaches are, what their personalities are like. That's going to be pretty important because they're going to be kind of my role models for the next four years. Then just the overall feel of the school, the city, the kids, the school spirit, and alumni."

WeAreSC- I notice that you named quite a few out of state schools. Will distance from home be a factor?

Collins- "No, that isn't really a factor at all."

WeAreSC- Will early playing time be something that you take into account?

Collins- "Obviously as a kid who likes to play football I want to go in and play, but if in my freshman year I just learn the system and get acquainted with college and I don't really play that much, it won't be too much of a problem. But I'd still love to come in and try to be a star."

WeAreSC- Talk about what has you looking at USC.

Collins- "Well, I went up there for the Junior Day and just all of the coaches have the same mentality that we have to win, and that really drew me in because at Mission that's our number one goal, and so far we've been pretty successful at it. I haven't lost a high school football game which is pretty meaningful to me. So just going up there and meeting the coaches and letting them just come out first thing saying, ‘If you come to SC you're going to have to give 110%.' That was one of the main things that kind of took me back and shocked me about it. Also the football foundation, I mean it's one of the top historical football programs in the nation, and just the year they had last year and in the years to come, they'll be successful. And academically it's second to none. Whatever you want to major in is going to be there and you're going to have some of the best professors around."

WeAreSC- Have you talked to any of the coaches at USC?

Collins- "I briefly met with a few of them at Junior Day, not really any individual talk."

WeAreSC- You have a pretty good reputation for being a smart player at your middle linebacker spot and for having good knowledge of the game. Talk about that and what you like to do out there when you're on the field.

Collins- "You know, you said that I know the game, my coaches see that in me and my coaches know that I understand the game. They give me the responsibility of calling all of the plays and just being a leader, kind of a player-coach out there and making sure everybody knows what to do and where they're going and whatnot. So, I'd say first my best quality is my leadership. At middle linebacker you have to lead the defense. Then, just my work ethic. I'm going to out work anybody who goes up against me. I know that so I can use that out on the field. And then my size. For a high school linebacker I'm a pretty big guy. My strength has really helped me out with fending off linemen and stuff like that."

WeAreSC- I know you were at the Nike Camp awhile back. How did that go?

Collins- "It went pretty well. I had just gotten out of basketball about two weeks before so I didn't really have any time to prepare for it, but I went out there just to see some of the other linebackers and some of the competition and just kind of have fun with the day. I tested decently (5.07 40, 4.68 shuttle, 23.1" vertical) and I think I did pretty well in the one-on-ones, but I didn't really have any time to get back into football mentality or shape so I'm going up to the Stanford combine in about a week and a half and that's going to be the one that I'm hoping will set my name out there."

WeAreSC- What was your height and weight at the camp?

Collins- "I was 6'2 and 247."

WeAreSC- What's your fastest 40 time and max on the bench and squat?

Collins- "4.9, which I hope is going to go down coming up at Stanford. About 295-300 on bench and squat I'm about 460."

WeAreSC- I know you're pretty good in basketball too. Do you have your stats from this past season?

Collins- "Yeah, I averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. And you know, I've been playing that sport since I was growing up and I've only been playing football for two or three years, but basketball has been my love and I just continue to play it even though I play power forward and I'm only 6'2, it's still fun for me and we had a very successful year this year."

WeAreSC- Earlier you mentioned that you've never lost a game in football in high school and you guys are coming off a championship season. How is it looking for next year?

Collins- "Our coaching staff is just unbelievable. They bring us together and they kind of form a family inside the football team. Defensively, Coach Mickelson has gone back to Oklahoma and Kansas State and USC and really picked up all of the defensive strategies that they have and tried to bring it back. So we know we're using the same things that the guys we watch on Saturdays use. We know that if we buy into the program, that obviously we're going to be successful. We've gone 28-0 so far, and so it's all in our coaches just bringing us back and making us work hard. This year again we're going to have some returners and some new guys that need to step up but I think we'll be very successful."

WeAreSC- What are your plans for this summer? Any more camps?

Collins- "I'm actually going to go to the SC camp for a couple days and then I'm going to head back to Notre Dame and go to that camp. Other than that, I think I'm just going to stay at school, see who's interested in me, and just work out and try to get bigger, stronger, and quicker."

WeAreSC- Would you like to commit early if the right offer comes along or would you rather go through the process and take some trips?

Collins- "Yeah, I really look forward to it. Both my brothers, one of my brothers right now just ended his basketball process and last year I had another brother who did it, so I'm really looking forward to going back on trips and talking to the coaches. So I don't really feel that I'll commit early but if I go back on a trip and I just really love the school then I might."

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