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East County Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016 5 years ago

Tyrone Collins becoming hottest corner in town

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Pirates' junior cornerback racks up nine major college football scholarship offers.
by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

 

For Tyrone Collins to catch fire, he had to give up his dream of being an NFL wide receiver.

In the summer leading up to his sophomore year at Braden River High School, coach Curt Bradley and offensive coordinator Eric Sanders had a player draft of sorts. The two coaches and former college teammates tried to envision where each of their players would have the most impact.

Since the team had greater depth at wide receiver last season, Bradley, who also serves as the Pirates defensive coordinator, opted to move Collins to cornerback. 

Collins didn’t know what to expect when he lined up for the first game of 2015, but it didn’t take Bradley and the rest of the Pirates coaching staff to realize they had made the right decision. 

On the first play of his first varsity game, Collins intercepted the ball. 

“That was a bit of foreshadowing right there,” Bradley said. “We had a need in the secondary, and he’s filled that need and done a great job.” 

The 17-year-old junior now is looking to build off last season’s success. 

In his first year as a defensive back, Collins picked off seven passes while helping lead the Pirates to their second-consecutive perfect regular season and a berth in the state semifinals. 

Collins credits his success in large part to his ability to read opposing quarterbacks based on their footwork and the receivers’ body position. Those were skills he learned from playing wide receiver. 

“I usually look at their hips,” said Collins, who could occasionally line up at wide receiver this fall. “That basically tells me where they are going.” 

Collins, along with senior safety Demetrius Lawson, will be asked to take on a leadership role this season after the Pirates lost several players from last year’s squad, which only allowed 15 touchdowns in 14 games last season. 

“We’re looking for him to take that next step and become a leader,” Bradley said. “Between Tyrone and Demetrius, we’re hoping they’ll be able to shut down half of the football field.” 

Not only did Collins give Pirate Nation plenty to cheer about last season, he also captured the attention of college coaches. 

Collins received his first offer from Florida Atlantic University in January and has landed eight more offers since, including the University of Michigan, Boston College, the University of Missouri, USF and UCF, among others. 

“His film is great and he tests well,” Bradley said. “Once you get one offer, then you start to see everybody get on board. The biggest thing for him is to be humble.” 

While Collins has yet to commit to a college program, his decision could come down to the school’s ability to send defensive backs to the NFL. 

“It means a lot,” Collins said of having offers. “Since I was a kid, I wanted to play in the NFL. When I got to high school, I was hoping to get a couple offers. They keep coming and it surprises me that I keep getting more and more.” 

Collins started playing football for the Police Athletic League when he was 8 years old with inspiration from his cousins, Brian Poole, once a standout defensive back at Southeast High and Tyrone Williams, a two-time national champion cornerback for the University of Nebraska and Super Bowl XXXI champion Green Bay Packers. 

He’s worked out with Poole, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons in April after a stellar career at the University of Florida. 

In addition to training with his cousins and teammates, Collins attended several collegiate camps this summer in hopes of enhancing his defensive skill set. At the Florida Gators' Sensational Sophomore Camp, he posted the fastest 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds. 

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