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"The Unknown Soldier" - OLB/DE Jamie Collins, Southern Miss. U

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When you look at Jamie Collins, you think one thing - Gifted athlete. Collins grew up in McCall Creek, Mississippi, where he played football at Franklin County HS, for coach Trent Hammond. He played quarterback as well as at linebacker on defense... A three-star athlete by Rivals.com, who was ranked No. 68 at that position in the country and No. 21 overall in the state of Mississippi ... A three-star prospect by Scout.com ... Named 1st team All-State by the Clarion Ledger ... Was Max Lemming's of MaxPreps.com's No. 12 combo passer in the country ... Selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game ... Recorded a solo tackle in that contest ... Had over 1, 200 yards rushing and 1,000 yards passing while leading his team to the state championship game in 2007 ... Led team to the Class 3A State Championship during his first year at quarterback, accounting for over 2,000 yards of offense and 26 TDs for the 2006 season.

Originally, the athletic Collins decided to sign with Auburn, but changed his mind to stay in his home state after unknown quantity Gene Chizik took over as the Tigers’ head coach in December 2008. Even though he missed out on the 2010 BCS championship season because of that decision, his career with the Golden Eagles predicts a NFL future in the path of former lean Southern Miss linebackers Michael Boley and Gerald McRath.

Quarterback? Or, Athlete? Shall we find out...

Collins didn't redshirt his freshman year, and saw action in all 13 games as a DB in the Southern Miss., Golden Eagles secondary ... Tallied 48 total tackles (27 solo and 21 assisted) with three tackles for loss for 12 yards and two sacks for 10 yards ... Returned two fumbles for 16 yards and forced one fumble ... Had first career touchdown on a fumble return of 16 yards against Tulane (10/24) ... Added a kick return of 33 yards against Virginia (9/19) ... Tallied a career-high 14 tackles at Houston, while adding nine at Kansas (9/26) ... Earned Athletic Director's Honor Roll for fall semester ...

From quarterback, to defensive back, to linebacker...

Collins made switch from defensive back to linebacker in 2010 ... An honorable mention All-Conference USA selection ... Played in all 12 games and has started in six of the last seven contests ... Finished the regular season second on the squad in tackles with 71 (41 solos) ... Posted season-high 10 tackles versus UAB (10/30) ... Had at least five tackles in 10 games during the year, including nine against Tulane (11/6) ... Posted two of his 2.5 sacks at UCF (11/13) for 10 yards ... Recovered a fumble for 13 yards against Tulsa (11/26) ... Picked off two passes including a 32-yard return for a touchdown against East Carolina (10/9) ... Added a pick against UAB for five yards ... Totaled two pass breakups ... Notched a fumble recovery for 13 yards against Tulsa ...

From guarterback, to defensive back, to linebacker, to..."Bandit"

The 2011 season would see Collins convert to his third position in as many years as the Bandit end in the 4-2-5 defense ... Had his best statistical season with 98 tackles (58 solo, 40 assisted) ... Led the team in tackles for loss with 19.5, ranking him No. 10 nationally, and was second on the squad with 6.5 sacks ... Returned his lone interception of the season 97 yards, a then-school record, at East Carolina (11/5) ... Broke up eight passes and forced one fumble ... Had a season-high 11 tackles at Navy (10/8) ... Started all 13 games ...

The 2012 Golden Eagles are 0-12 (0-8 conf.), and the Bandit's in a grove, and the inglorious basterd left...

After Southern Miss went 12-2 in the 2011 season, coach Larry Fedora left to become the head coach at North Carolina. The Golden Eagles brought in veteran defense coordinator Ellis Johnson to take over the program, but he lasted just one inglorious season.

Collins led the team in tackles in 2012 with 92 and also ranked first in C-USA in tackles for loss (20.0) and third in sacks (10.0), which both rank fifth on the school's single-season chart. His tackles for loss number currently ranked tied for No. 7 in the country, while his sack total was 21st nationally.

The Golden Eagle defensive end forced four fumbles during the campaign, which ranks tied for 3rd on the school's single-season chart and holds a 5th-place on the school's career chart with seven fumbles forced. It was the 3rd consecutive season a Golden Eagle has forced four fumbles.

He posted three double-digit tackle performances during the year including a season-high 13 against Nebraska and 10 versus Boise State.

Collins is the 42nd first-team defensive honoree for Southern Miss in Conference USA since its inaugural season in 1996.

Despite Southern Miss' struggles, Collins' strong play earned him an invitation to the Senior Bowl...

Jamie Collins measured in at the Senior Bowl weigh-in at - 6'3 3/8" 245 lbs. You can check out all the players' measurables here...

"Mainly, I want to show people that I can play despite the worst season that we've ever had at Southern Miss," Collins said of his goal at Senior Bowl practices this week. "I'm just glad for the opportunity to come over there and play with those guys."

Collins would miss out on playing in the All Star game with a hamstring injury he suffered during practices.

DE Jamie Collins Prepares For The NFL Combine...

Pre-Combine draft projections had Collins going anywhere from the mid-second round to early fourth. With a good combine showing, Collins' stock could rise dramatically according to NFL scouts.

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. rates Collins as one of the top outside linebackers in this year's draft class.

"Jamie has a muscular, athletic-looking frame with powerful hands and long arms," said Kiper. "He accelerates well in a straight line, and exhibits good flexibility, both coming off the edge as a rusher, as well as when changing direction in space."

Collins has the unique ability to get after the quarterback and that really impresses the ESPN guru. He had 10 sacks his senior season at USM and was in the Top 15 nationally with tackles for lost yardage.

"He (Jamie) displays a knack for getting to the quarterback off the edge, with impressive natural power on contact," added Kiper.

Combine Results, and more...

02/27/2013 - TOP 10 COMPELLING NFL COMBINE STORY LINES: 7. 0-12 teams still can have big-time talent. Jamie Collins, a DE/OLB at Southern Miss, was high on the radar of several NFL scouts and coaches I spoke to. And then Collins backed up his "freak" rep, broad jumping 11-7 -- almost a foot longer than any other LB. The 6-3, 250-pounder also had a 41.5-inch vertical. An NFL source I talked to said it's hard to find guys who are 6-2-plus and 240 who can really play, adding that "the size paradigm for NFL LBs is changing because it forces the personnel folks and coaches to project college DEs to be stand-up off the ball LBs." Collins, though, sure looked like he could be one of those guys. - Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com

NFL Mocks.com

Jamie Collins is easily one of the most underrated prospects in this draft. I think he’s better than Dion Jordan. Now, that’s as much of a testament to how much I think Jordan is overrated (People say Jordan is a raw Aldon Smith. That’s a nice way of saying he’s Jarvis Moss) as much as it is a testament to how much I think Collins is underrated, but still. I can think of nothing that Jordan brings to the table that Collins does not.

Collins has excellent measurables. He showed up at the combine at 6’3, 250lbs, ran a 4.64 40 (4th among linebackers), set a record for linebackers with a 41.5 in vertical (!), good for second best at the combine for all players (Christine Michael), had the best broad jump at the combine among all players at any position at 139 inches, had the second longest arms of any linebacker at the combine at 33 6/8 inches (Cornelius Washington), but underwhelmed on the bench with only 19 reps. His long arms are a disadvantage on the bench, but he does need bulk, and, if his vert/broad jump are any indication, he definitely is more filled out in the lower body than in the upper body. Still, an incredible performance for Collins at the combine.

Many people were surprised by Collins’ performance at the combine. But I’m going to let everyone in on a little secret: Jamie Collins is the only pass rusher in this draft class that combine ridiculous measurables with on field production. He’s the only guy in this draft class who ran a sub 4.8 40 at the combien AND got 10 or more sacks this year (4.64 40, so, room to spare). He’s the only guy who ran a sub 4.8 40 AND had at least 16 TFL’s (20 TFL’s, so, again, room to spare). In 12 games, nonetheless. He was 7th in the NCAA in TFL’s per game and 20th in total sacks. He has stats and the physical tools to back them up. You can’t say that about any other defensive end or outside linebacker in this draft class. Not too mention, 92 tackles in 12 games is absolutely terrific for a defensive end, and he played mostly end last season. Also, he was very productive in 2011, with 98 tackles, 19.5 TFL’s, and 6.5 sacks in 14 games.

Collins is solid against the run. He has room to improve as a tackler, he needs upper body strength if he wants to play end at the NFL level, and he could get better leverage, but, beyond that, you’d be hard pressed to find a flaw. His instincts are very good and he does a very good job of using his hands to shed blocks. His range is absolutely phenomenal and he has great lateral quickness. He knows how to use his length to shed blocks (that’s why he gets TFL’s) and his excellent speed combined with his above average fluidity makes him a demon in pursuit of the ball (that’s why he gets tackles). Also, what I can’t help but admire in Collins is that even when Southern Mississippi’s season went into the toilet he never stopped playing hard. That jumped out at me in the Southern Methodist game, where Collins, playing for an 0-9 team, really played with great passion in a 34-6 loss. He’s a tough guy. Right now, he doesn’t have anywhere near enough strength to be playing end at the NFL level, but, if he adds 20lbs, it’s definitely a possibility. He sounds short a bit short at 6’3, but there’s a misconception about height when it comes to linemen, both offensive and defensive. Height, by itself, is perceived as an advantage for linemen, when, in fact, it isn’t. The low man wins in football, so being really tall makes getting good leverage difficult for linemen, unless they have incredible flexibility. The reason why height is perceived as a good thing is that there is a strong correlation between height and arm length, and the advantage of long arms usually more than makes up for the disadvantage of height. However, in Collins’ case, he may be 6’3, but he has the arms of a guy who is 6’5 at 33 6/8 inches, making defensive end a legitimate possibility. He also has more than enough range, tons of flexibility, and well honed instincts at the position. However, he could do a better job of using his size to get better leverage against the run, often playing high and off balance.

When we drafted Elvis Dumervil in the 4th round of the 2006 draft, many said that he was too short to play in a 43 defenive end position. We all know how that turned out, and now jamie Collins could be in the same kind of conversation if a team like the Broncos were to pick him in this draft. Collins clearly has more athleticism at the same time as Dumervil had at his Combine, and has played multible (very versatile) positions in his career. I think he would be a great asset to our team. And all this talk about 43 - 34 stand up - hand in the dirt? He's an athlete who is also a "Bandit!" What say you...

Link sources...

http://southernmiss.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1445192

Confident Collins in Combine

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/archive/1723146

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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