Waiting to go pro
Collins hopes his senior year ends by being drafted to the NFL
Jasper Collins has done his part.
A Mount Union senior, he has put in countless hours of training to hear his name called during the NFL draft. He put his skills on display for NFL scouts at a pro day and performed a private workout for the New England Patriots.
Now the Purple Raiders’ 6-foot, 190-pound receiver, who goes by Junior, finds out how impressive he was and whether he’s about to become the third Mount Union receiver drafted since 2008.
“You’ve just got to go with the flow at this point,” Collins said. “I’ve done all I can do to be where I am now. I just leave it in God’s hands and I know I will end up where I am supposed to be, whether I am drafted or not.”
Collins has heard he’s a potential mid-to-late round draft pick, which would put him in a category with former Mount Union stars Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts III as receivers in the NFL.
It’s always been Collins’ dream to play in the NFL. His dominant play in the NCAA Division III playoffs last season catapulted him into that status.
In five playoff games, Collins scored 11 touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 795 yards. Included in that impressive string was his 12 receptions for 228 yards and five touchdowns — four in the first half — against Johns Hopkins. Collins caught eight passes for 120 yards in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl victory versus St. Thomas (Minn.).
As the playoffs began, the Purple Raiders tinkered with the offense and began playing Collins as a slot receiver in addition to split end and his numbers soared.
The amazing playoff performances pushed his season stat totals to 92 receptions, 1,694 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns.
“He’s somebody who really came through in clutch situations,” Mount Union receivers coach Paul Gulling said. “I’ve coached Cecil Shorts and Pierre Garcon and Junior, he had probably just the most outstanding playoff of any one of our players that I can remember in recent history.”
As a freshman, Collins caught just seven passes for 81 yards. As a sophomore, he blossomed, catching 66 passes for 908 yards and two touchdowns. As a junior, injuries cost Collins four games, but he still scored 13 touchdowns and caught 67 passes for 884 yards.
Fully healthy in 2012, he made his case as an NFL draft prospect.
For the Mount Union staff, it’s easy to see what makes him a candidate to play football professionally.
“He catches passes that aren’t catchable,” said veteran Mount Union coach Larry Kehres, who has coached the Purple Raiders to 11 NCAA titles. “Sometimes he can really extend and make the really outstanding catch too.”
He runs clean, crisp routes that sometimes will get you the slight separation needed to make a grab and has a knack for reading the holes in zone coverage.
“The route might be to run a skinny post, but if he sees that safety backing up, then he’s just going to bend it in and find the opening,” Gulling said. “He did that tremendously in the playoffs.”