September 1, 2009

Countdown to kickoff: No. 5 - Brandon Collins

Name: Brandon Collins

Position: Wide receiver

Classification: Junior

Prep credentials: The former Brenham star was a four-star prospect (5.8) who was ranked as the nation's No.26 wide receiver (behind fellow in-state prospect Terrance Toliver, Dez Bryant and Malcolm Williams) and the No.189 overall prospect in the nation by Rivals. Collins was ranked as the No.28 overall prospect in the state by Lone Star Recruiting and ranked No.31 by Rivals.

Click here to see Collins' high school film

2008 stats: The third-year sophomore appeared in 12 games (three starts) and caught 25 passes for 430 yards (12.4 YPC) and three touchdowns.

2008 Honors: None

Career stats: Collins has played in 19 games (three starts) and has recorded 35 career receptions for 430 yards (12.4 YPC) and three touchdowns.

Best game in 2008: There were several games down the stretch to choose from, but Collins' impact on the 40 Acres has never been greater than it was in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. In that game against the Buckeyes, Collins caught six passes for 60 yards, including two huge first-down conversions (totaling 25 yards) in the thrilling BCS Bowl win.

Scouting Report: One of the reasons for the Texas staff feeling so comfortable about their ability to replace the production of departed star Quan Cosby is the late-season development that Collins flashed in 2008. After a slow start, Collins heated up (beginning with a six reception night against Missouri) and showed as much versatility as anyone on the roster at the receiver position, with the exception of Jordan Shipley. In four of the last seven games of the season, Collins contributed at least one play of more than 35+ yards.

On top of the big play threat he started to provide, he also emerged as one of Colt McCoy's top intermediate-level weapons and became a key third down go-to-guy. McCoy successfully converted eight of 12 (66.7%) third down passes to Collins, with four of those conversions coming in third-and-long situations.

Collins is a precise route runner that excels at creating separation out of his cuts, which is a huge reason for his success in the vertical passing game. He runs terrific post routes, which allows the rest of the field to open up to him as a player. With his ability to cut inside or out, he's a match-up nightmare for opposing corners that lack true plus-cover skills. Collins is listed as a flanker, but the truth if he can and will play all over the field for the Longhorns. When lined up in the slot or asked to run crossing routes from the outside, he does a good job of finding the soft spots in the defense.

If you're looking for negatives, Collins doesn't have home run hitting speed - he's more quick than fast. He also hasn't proven that he's a great receiver after the catch. As explosive as he is in-and-out of his cuts pre-catch, it doesn't always translate to burst or plus-ability after the catch. Also, he needs to get stronger physically in the next two seasons because questions do exist about his ability to maintain a full 13-game schedule as a featured player.

The big hope… Collins stays healthy for an entire season and catches 60-70 passes for somewhere in the 1,000-yard/8 touchdown range. As one of McCoy's top three targets, he sets the stage for a big senior campaign in 2010.

The big worry… Nagging injuries keep him from being a 13-game contributor and the Longhorns are forced to rely on less experienced receivers for a heavy workload.

Did you know? Collins' cousin, Shaud Williams, played running back at Texas Tech/Alabama (2002-03) and is currently playing for the Buffalo Bills. He was also once featured in an episode of Da Ali G Show while playing for the Crimson Tide.

NFL Scouting report: "He seems like a very good technician and he has some ability from what I've seen, but he really needs to get stronger before he thinks about coming here. Ray Lewis would break his body in half if they met on the field - half the players in the league would, honestly. He needs to commit himself to developing his strength because that's what it will take to survive here."

The bottom line: Collins is a key player to the 2009 national title aspirations. As he enters his third season, the Longhorns are counting on him to be a viable big-play/third down producer on a weekly basis. This is the moment he's been waiting his entire life - it's time for him to take that next step as a player.

No.6 - Russell Carter
No.7 - Fozzy Whittaker
No.8 - Justin Tucker
No.9 - Lamarr Houston
No.10 - Dan Buckner
No.11 - Eddie Jones
No.12 - Tre Newton
No.13 - Emmanuel Acho
No.14 - John Chiles
No.15 - Kheeston Randall
No.16 - David Snow
No.17 - Curtis Brown
No.18 - Malcolm Williams
No.19 - Keenan Robinson
No.20 - Vondrell McGee
No.21 - Blake Gideon
No.22 - Adam Ulatoski
No.23 - Ben Alexander
No.24 - James Kirkendoll
No.25 - Jared Norton

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