NCAA FB

RB Alex Collins enjoying early success at Arkansas

Share This Story

   
 

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP)

Alex Collins had to wait an extra day in February before signing his national letter of intent with Arkansas.

The brief postponement has proven worthwhile for Collins and the Razorbacks, who look to remain undefeated Saturday when they host Southern Mississippi (0-2).

After just two weeks, Collins leads the Southeastern Conference with an average of 151.5 yards rushing. His 172-yard effort in a comeback win over Samford last week marked the first time in school history that a freshman has opened his career with back-to-back games of more than 100 yards on the ground.

The performances have hardly come as a surprise to coach Bret Bielema.

''I've watched Alex for three years,'' Bielema said. ''He's a very gifted player. He can turn a play in a minute.''

For all of Collins' recent success, his first foray into the national spotlight came in February. The highly-coveted running back from South Plantation High near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., verbally committed to play for the Razorbacks two days before signing day.

However, his mother no-showed at his signing ceremony and refused to sign the letter of intent - leading to plenty of attention across the country. Collins signed with Arkansas (2-0) a day later, with his father providing the written consent required by NCAA rules, and he quickly did his best to put the potentially embarrassing situation behind him once he arrived on campus over the summer.

''I know I came in just trying to move on after all that,'' he said. ''Just put it to the side and move on to the next thing. I just kind of put that to the side and just started focusing on how can I get better and help the team right away. That was my main focus.''

One of the first teammates the 5-foot-11, 206-pound Collins met and worked out with was fellow running back Jonathan Williams. The two have since forged a mutually-beneficial friendship, both on and off the field.

Williams entered the season as what Bielema called the team's ''go-to'' back after a freshman season last year spent backing up incumbents Knile Davis, Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo. So far this season, the 6-foot, 222-pound sophomore has lived up to Bielema's preseason billing - rushing for an average of 138.5 yards through two games, third in the SEC.

While some running backs might have a concern about sharing the workload with a talented underclassman, Williams has embraced his shared spotlight with Collins. The two regularly signal each other for breaks during games, and they've both received plenty of carries through the first two.

Collins leads the Razorbacks with 45 carries, while Williams has 35. Regardless of who has more attempts, Williams knows splitting the carries is a key factor in why he feels fresh.

''I saw the way that Knile and Dennis and Ronnie Wingo worked together,'' Williams said. ''There was no animosity between those guys, as well. The whole running back group jells well together. Everybody is going to get carries.''

In what has been a run-focused offensive system under Bielema so far, there have been plenty of carries to go around. In fact, after falling behind to Samford in the third quarter last week, Arkansas didn't attempt a single pass in the fourth quarter while rallying for a 31-21 win.

The Razorbacks rushed 20 times for 163 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 55-yard run by Collins during a drive that ended with his first touchdown.

''He's a big playmaker, that's for sure,'' said quarterback Brandon Allen. ''Between him and Jonathan, they're a great 1-2 punch. They definitely keep defenses honest with the run game, and they're able to make big plays when we need them.''

Collins said he has been surprised by the quick success he's had so far, but he's also aware that the team's strength of schedule jumps notably next week at Rutgers - followed by the SEC opener against Texas A&M.

''I know I've got to stay humble about it's because it's the beginning of the season,'' Collins said. ''I've got to prepare myself for the next game. I can't keep thinking about past games ... I appreciate everything my team has done for me to help me get that, and I'm honored, but I've got to move on.''

Tagged: Arkansas, Ronnie Wingo

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash