A perceived long-time Texas Longhorns lean is now officially set to don burnt orange, as Bastrop Cedar Creek strong-side defensive end Alfred Collins put pen to paper and signed with Tom Herman’s program on Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony at his high school.
The in-state star elected to stay home over taking his talents to Oklahoma or Alabama by popping a balloon filled with a burnt orange substance and putting on a white Texas hat accompanied by a large sigh of relief.
Less than an hour later, the Horns officially confirmed the addition of Collins to the 2020 recruiting class.
The fact that Collins’ recruitment extended all the way to National Signing Day was a bit of a surprise given that the top-75 talent utilized each of his official visits throughout the fall and winter, touring Oklahoma (Sept. 6), Alabama (Sept 21), Texas A&M (Oct. 11), Texas (Oct. 18), and Baylor (Dec. 13). The Aggies and Bears were cut from consideration during the final days of Collins’ recruitment, but even then, his pledge was long considered the Longhorns to lose, as evident by each of his 16 Crystal Ball picks favoring Texas, with picks placed dating back to September 2018 after he first earned his offer.
Furthermore, aside from the close proximity and the continued Texas presence in his recruitment, it only helped that Collins is a Longhorn legacy, as his mother, Benita Pollard, was a standout basketball player at Texas in the 1990s.
Nevertheless, as far as the Longhorns are concerned, Collins was well worth the wait.
A newly-minted five-star talent according to 247Sports, Collins bulked up considerably throughout the past year, adding nearly 40 pounds to what’s now a 6’5, 284-pound frame. This, in turn, allowed Collins to impose his will to the tune of 86 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and four forced fumbles as a senior, which ultimately equated in All-American honors.
247Sports’ Gabe Brooks detailed what Collins brings to the table:
High-ceiling defensive lineman who could fit multiple roles in multiple schemes. Still growing into tall, long frame. Owns outstanding height and frame length with through-the-roof frame potential. Long and lanky with a ton of space to add mass. Has lined up inside and on the edge in a four-man front in high school. Willing participant against the run. Doesn’t quit on plays. Hustles downfield to chase when necessary. Plays with active hands and uses long arm extension to his advantage. Flashes encouraging upper-body strength at the point of attack. Has shown ability to bull rush from interior and collapse the pocket. Plays high. Must improve leverage consistency. Can improve balance and body control. Must expand pass-rushing arsenal. Needs to increase lower-body strength to help with taking on double teams and standing up against the run in college. Raw and still learning, but plays with a high motor and owns elite physical tools that project to a quality Power 5 starter with early-round NFL draft potential.
When it was all said and done, Collins signed with Texas as not only an All-American, but as a top-65 talent nationally and as the second-best strong-side defense end in the nation, per the 247Sports Composite.