Thursday, February 2, 2017

Nico Collins, Wolverine

Pinson (AL) Clay-Chalkville WR Nico Collins

NOTE: With the new website getting its ass kicked, I'm going to post a couple things here. I'll migrate these posts over to once things settle down a bit.

Pinson (AL) Clay-Chalkville wide receiver Nico Collins committed to Michigan on Wednesday afternoon. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, and LSU, among others.

Collins is 6'5", 195 lbs. As a junior in 2015, he caught 60 passes for 1,103 yards and 16 touchdowns. He followed that up with 43 catches for 865 yards and 9 touchdowns as a senior.

ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #21 WR, #150 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #17 WR, #120 overall
Scout: 4-star, #24 WR, #178 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 92 grade, #29 WR, #200 overall

Hit the jump for more.

Collins was high on Michigan for a long time, and he visited Ann Arbor several times on his own dime. For whatever reason, he held off on committing and then Georgia started to creep in. In fact, the Bulldogs seemed to take the lead, even though Collins was reported to be a silent commitment. Then word came out that the Georgia deal was falling through, and Collins fell back into the hands of Michigan. Even heading into this past weekend, most people thought he would join Isaiah Wilson in Athens.

Collins has a tall, lanky body with long legs and long arms. Because of his height and long arms, he has a reach advantage over most corners and can be physical when going after the ball, since referees rarely throw pass interference flags against the offense. He also does a nice job of catching the ball away from his body, so he can catch fade passes, back shoulder fades, jump balls, etc. His long arms also help him in the blocking department, where he can get into a cornerbacks' chests before they have a great chance to react. Collins is also a physical runner who can shake off tackle attempts from smaller players.

On the negative side, Collins does not have great speed and is a long-strider as a runner. His deep threat ability comes more from his size and length than his speed, but if he can get going in a straight line, he has some decent speed. His short-area quickness is the bigger issue, and that affects his route running. He is a little bit sloppy with his routes and needs to improve in that area to create separation. One thing that I noticed during The Opening last summer is that he seems to let one poor play affect his mentality. If he makes a mistake, drops a pass, etc., he needs to shake it off and move on to the next play. Coming from a small-ish school in Alabama, he needs to experience better competition.

I think Collins is a very good prospect. He's not an all-around receiver like Donovan Peoples-Jones, but not many people are. I think he can be used in much the same way as Michigan used Devin Funchess back in 2014. He's not a quasi-tight end, but a jumbo receiver who might be able to surprise some people with his speed once in awhile. Michigan has not had a ton of success recruiting jump-ball types of guys (Csont'e York, Jaron Dukes, etc.), but Collins is taller and more athletic than those guys.

Michigan now has five wide receivers in the 2017 class - Collins, Peoples-Jones, Brad Hawkins, Tarik Black, and Oliver Martin. That's a wide array of sizes, speeds, and skill sets. Michigan wasn't able to recruit a super-speedy 5'10" slot guy, but that's about all that's missing. There's some talk that this could be Michigan's best wide receiver recruiting class in history. It certainly has that potential. This group is going to push for immediate playing time, and while Collins himself has some things to improve, this should be a star-studded group in two or three years.

TTB Rating: 83

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