The Texas Longhorns hosted dozens of top prospects last weekend for their game against USC. Saturday’s game went off like gangbusters, with many top recruits among the official crowd of 103,507 who watched the Longhorns defeat the Trojans 37-14, and several of them spoke glowingly about the experience afterward.
A handful of underclassmen recruits were offered by the staff before the game, and one of them was 2020 prospect Alfred Collins, as first reported by local outlet FanstandATX.
Collins is a junior from Cedar Creek High School, a Bastrop ISD school located roughly 20 miles east of the UT campus. He was measured at 6’4.5” and 249 pounds at the start of this season and primarily plays defensive tackle for his high school team, but projects as a defensive end long term. After an impressive showing on the football field and basketball court as a sophomore he was firmly on the radar of a number of college programs, and now, a month into his junior year, he has started to pick up scholarship offers.
He received his first offer from Baylor two weeks ago, then added another from Texas A&M after visiting College Station to watch the Texas A&M-Clemson game on September 8. He was a guest of Texas for the USC game and was offered by head coach Tom Herman while on the field at DKR Texas Memorial Stadium before the game.
Texas was one of three schools whose camps he attended during the summer (Baylor and Texas A&M were the others) and he had some contact with the staff afterward. Defensive line coach Oscar Giles attended one of Cedar Creek’s games earlier this season and came away impressed with his motor and quickness off the snap, which led to Collins’s invitation to campus last week and his subsequent offer.
Along with being a local recruit, Collins is also a Texas legacy. His mother, the former Benita Pollard, played for the Texas Longhorns women’s basketball team for four seasons (the 1990-91 to 1993-94 seasons) and was named Team MVP after her senior year.
In response to the rather obvious question of whether he grew up a Texas fan given that family legacy and his going to school near Austin, Collins told BON, “Oh yeah I’ve always loved the Longhorns!” He says that his parents were with him when he was extended the offer from Coach Herman and that “They were excited and very proud of me!”
His Cedar Creek team has a bye this week, and he plans on making another trip to Austin on Saturday to watch the Texas-TCU game.
Aside from Collins’s mother there are two other accomplished athletes in his family. His older sister Kennedy Collins plays basketball at Houston Baptist, and he is a cousin of New England Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown. In an October 2016 post from Trent Brown’s Instagram account (seen below), you can see Alfred Collins as a freshman standing next to his NFL cousin. To give you an idea of the relative size of the photo’s subjects, consider that Collins was a 9th grader and Trent Brown was 23 years old and 18 months removed from the 2015 NFL Combine, at which he was measured at 6’8” and 355 pounds.
Though Collins had yet to play his first varsity snap at the time, Trent Brown was right in telling his Instagram followers to “remember the name” of his younger cousin. A year later as a sophomore, Collins suited up for Cedar Creek’s varsity football squad and showed himself to be a standout on the defensive line, finishing the 2017 season with 75 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. The coaches of District 19-5A voted Collins as a first team all-district defensive lineman, making him one of just two sophomores to receive first team honors on either side of the ball in that district. You can see 1:16 worth of the havoc he caused along the line that season in the video below.
Despite his efforts, the Cedar Creek Eagles finished 1-9 for the fifth time in the school’s six varsity football seasons. After the 2017 football season he moved to the hardwood and suited up for Cedar Creek’s basketball team, with similar results. He put his size, length, and athleticism to often very effective use, finishing the 2017-18 season with averages of 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 1 block per game, and he was voted the district’s Newcomer of the Year. But after winning its first two games, Cedar Creek’s basketball team won just two more for the rest of the season.
The video below shows highlights from Cedar Creek’s 59-41 loss to Leander, in which Collins scored 16 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and threw down a pair of dunks.
Collins also participated in track and field during the spring, and though his results in the shot put were unremarkable, I’m told he has also competed in the triple jump, and that Cedar Creek’s track coach believes he’s capable of jumping 40 feet in that event, which would be fairly freakish for an athlete of his size.
His athletic exploits during the 2017-18 school year did not go unnoticed by college football coaching staffs. According to an Austin American-Statesman story published on May 30, 2018, Baylor, Colorado, Duke, Houston, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, and Texas A&M were among the programs that sent coaches to watch Collins during Cedar Creek’s spring practices. Cedar Creek head coach Jon Edwards was quoted in the story saying, “Before it’s said and done, everybody in the country’s gonna want him.”
As if trying to prove his coach’s prediction right, Collins was credited with 9 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in Cedar Creek’s season-opening 31-0 win over Austin Reagan three weeks ago. He followed up that performance by making 16 tackles (13 solo) and one sack the following week in a 23-13 loss to Austin Akins. By the time he suited up for the third game of his junior season, he held offers from Baylor and Texas A&M, then received his Texas offer a day later.
Alfred Collins’s most obvious comparison to a current Longhorn may be the high school version of Charles Omenihu. When asked if the Texas coaches told him to watch the senior defensive end during the USC game to get an idea of where they saw him lining up in a few years, Collins answered in the affirmative. With his frame and with how he’s already experienced at playing up and down the defensive line, it’s easy to see Collins ably filling the responsibilities of a 4i technique defensive end in college.
Jon Edwards, the aforementioned Cedar Creek head coach, has nothing but glowing praise for his junior lineman. He tells BON that Collins has “a great work ethic” and is someone who can be counted on “to give his best at everything he does.” As for Collins’s potential, Coach Edwards describes it as “unlimited” and believes he “can play this game as long as he wants to.”
Prior to taking over at Cedar Creek in 2015, Edwards spent several years as an assistant coach at Katy Cinco Ranch, a large 6A school west of Houston that produced several Division I athletes during his time there. When asked if there were any players he’d worked with or coached against who Alfred Collins most reminded him of, Edwards mentioned former Texas Longhorns All-American and NFL defensive tackle Rodrique Wright (who went to high school at Alief Hastings) and former Texas A&M and NFL tight end Martellus Bennett (who attended Alief Taylor). His comparison of Collins to Wright was based on the hilarity of seeing a talented athlete of that size lining up against and dominating other high school players, while aspects of Bennett’s game that he saw in Collins included his “tremendous hands”, as well as his length and athleticism.
Those traits are, as Edwards points out, “a lot more fun to watch when it is on your team and you are not having to go up against it.” Judging by their recent offer to Collins, the Texas Longhorn coaching staff feels the same way.
Alfred Collins is currently rated by 247Sports as a three-star prospect and the state’s #48 recruit in the 2020 class. Prediction: he’ll be rated much higher than that a year from now.