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With 42 days left until Virginia Tech takes the field against Appalachian State, we turn our attention to number 42 on the roster, Mr. J.R. Collins. Collins took over the starting duties at weakside defensive end this spring and performed admirably in what reps he received. While most of the spotlight was on James Gayle’s emergence opposite of him, Collins should be a force in his own right. He did receive some reps inside at defensive tackle but it appears that Collins future is at defensive end. However, that experience inside could help this team if either of the starting defensive tackles goes down with an injury.
Weight: 253 lbs
Position: Defensive End
High School: Brooke Pointe High School
How Did He Get Here
Collins was a member of the 2009 recruiting class and was personally, one of my favorite recruits in that class. He was not highly rated since he was just a 5.7 3 star recruit on Rivals.com but he did receive offers from BC, Maryland, UNC, NC State, Penn State, Tennessee, and UVA. Collins actually took four official visits in the fall of 2008 and committed to the Hokies on January 30th, 2009.
While he wasn’t a starter in 2010, Collins did receive a lot of playing time as a freshman. He saw action in 13 of the 14 games including 40 snaps against UNC, 36 against CMU, and 26 snaps against Boise State. His most productive game from a pass rushing standpoint came against UVA when he registered two sacks and two QB hurries. On the year he finished with 25 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks. Also, Collins did receive one start last season against JMU when Chris Drager was out due to injury.
Most of the attention going into this fall will be on Gayle at strongside defensive end and with the spring he had, Gayle deserves that attention. Still, one cannot overlook the progress Collins has made since last season. He’s gone from being a young rookie pass rusher into a complete defensive end. With his upside, Collins has the potential to be an All-ACC player this fall but he needs to stay healthy. With the Hokies being thin at end this fall, the health of both starters is key to a successful Virginia Tech defense.
Collins has the physical tools to not only be a ferocious pass rusher but to assist the Hokies in stopping the run. He’s built like a small tank and has an explosive first step. Personally, I expect big things out of Collins this year even though this will be his first season as a starter. While he’ll be inconsistent at times, Collins is the type of player that strikes me as a gamer in the moments matter most. Let’s hope he proves me right this fall.
Saving his best game for last or well 3rd to last against UVA last year. That two sack performance was impressive for a freshman.
Honestly, I can’t think of a lowlight for Collins. He’s been healthy his whole career and hasn’t really made any mistakes on the field. Props to him for that.
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Completely made up fact
Due to JR Collins bossy nature, his teammates have begun calling him the "Landlord"
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