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With 42 days left until the Virginia Tech Hokies square off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, we turn our attention to #42 on the roster Mr. J.R. Collins. While James Gayle will steal the headlines this offseason, Collins is quietly developing into the Hokies 2nd best pass rushing threat from the opposite side. Last season, he led the team in QB hurries with 29 and nearly scored a touchdown on an interception against UVA. Needless to say, it’s hard not to expect bigger and better things about of Collins this fall.
Weight: 252 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
2011 Season Rewind
If you judge Collins alone based on his stats, you may wonder why he hasn’t received more publicity this off-season. Last season, the Stafford native finished with 57 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, one interception and 29 QB hurries. No matter how you slice it, that is a rock solid sophomore campaign. If Collins can improve upon those numbers in 2012, which I think he will, this defensive line as a whole could be significantly better. That’s a scary thought.
When you think about the great Virginia Tech defensive lines over the years, a few immediately come to mind - the 1999 D-line with Corey Moore terrorizing opposing QBs, the 2005 defensive line with Daryl Tapp coming off the edge, and the 2007 DL with Chris Ellis – are the ones that I immediately remember. This 2012 group has a chance to be special and may even surpass some of those groups that I just mentioned.
The key to this group is the pressure it can generate from their two primary pass rushers in Collins and Gayle. Gayle has hulked up to 269 pounds and is primed for a huge season from the STUD position. Over at end, it will be up to Collins to match him on every play. If last season was any indicator, then Collins is up to that challenge. In the UVA game, he was terrific. You can say the same thing about his play against Michigan in the Sugar Bowl. Collins is the key to this defensive line. If he has an All-ACC season, I think you’ll see the Hokies defense back in the top five in every major statistical category this season.
Completely Made Up Fact
Due to JR Collins bossy nature, his teammates have begun calling him the "Landlord"
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