With only Chris Whaley coming for the class of 2009, running back could be an hugely important position for 2010. One of the players the Longhorns are keeping an eye for that spot is a local product in Princeton Collins. The Westwood junior RB talked with Inside Texas about being recruited by the Longhorns, what he’s looking for in a college, his visit plans and more.
Lofty expectations have been set for the running back position at Texas and it’s a closely watched position in recruiting for the Longhorns. It’s a key position for the class of 2010, as UT is only bringing in one runner (Madisonville’s Chris Whaley) for 2009.
One of the 2010 prospects the Longhorns have been keeping in contact with is Princeton Collins. The 5-11, 190-pound speedster from Round Rock Westwood is putting up phenomenal numbers as a junior and the Texas coaching staff has taken notice .
“UT is watching me,” Collins said. “They stay in contact with my coach. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the other schools that are in contact with me.”
Given the history of the position — and history at the position is an important factor for Collins — he’s excited that he’s on the Longhorns’ radar.
“(Be recruited by Texas) feels excellent, it’s one of those things you can’t explain,” Collins said. “I must be doing something right if they are looking at me.”
When you take into consideration that Collins’ top five schools (in no order: Georgia, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M) have all produced at least one Heisman Trophy winning running back, it is clear to see that he has set his sights high.
“(Tradition at the running back position) has a lot to do with it,” Collins said. “I just want to pick the college that is going to give me the best (opportunity).”
There is a lot to like about Collins at this stage of his career. His size, 4.44 speed and deceptive power are somewhat similar to the attributes Jamaal Charles displayed as prep runner at Port Arthur Memorial. Collins’ self-evaluation of his best attributes as a runner are a set of intangibles that could make him an ideal fit in Greg Davis’ offense.
“I would say my elusiveness,” Collins said. “I can also break tackles in the backfield and make plays and get those extra yards.
“If we have a 3rd-and-8, I’m going to fight as hard as I can to get that 1st-and-10.”
Collins is a big reason why the Warriors (3-5, 1-4) are still mathematically alive in the playoff race in District 16-5A as he has rushed for 1,252 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Collins has gone over 100 yards in seven of Westwood’s eight games this season and has rushed for more than 150 yards five times, including last week’s 225-yard, four-touchdown effort in a must-win 42-8 victory over McNeil. He has also been a major factor in Westwood’s spread offense as a receiver with team bests in receptions (29) and yards (309) in addition to his two touchdown catches.
“I’ve had a good season,” Collins said. “I’ve been following my blockers and I listen to everything my coaches tell me to do and I go out and do it. I had a lot of expectations coming into the season and I feel like I’ve met those.”
Collins has not had the chance yet to make it to any of the Longhorns’ home games in 2008, but he has seen plenty of Texas football this season and has been impressed with what they have done on the offensive side of the ball.
“Their offense has been strong and it’s been enjoyable to watch,” Collins said. “It’s a nice mixed variety of running and passing. They always have great people in the backfield and I like the way they execute.”
Collins says he plans on making an unofficial visit to the Texas campus for one of the Longhorns’ final two dates against either Baylor or Texas A&M, but he is unsure right now which game he will attend.