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Texas defensive lineman Alfred Collins wants to 'be relentless like in my high school days'

Jim Irish
American-Statesman Correspondent
Texas defensive lineman Alfred Collins celebrates after an interception against Colorado in the Longhorns' 55-23 win in the Alamo Bowl in December. Collins could be headed for a breakout season as a sophomore.

BASTROP — In his first start for Texas, Alfred Collins demonstrated that he might terrorize opponents for the next three years.

Against Colorado in the Alamo Bowl, the freshman defensive tackle from Cedar Creek recorded five tackles, one pass breakup and an interception in the Longhorns’ 55-23 victory.

The interception — Collins’ first as a Longhorn — displayed his extraordinary athleticism. Sensing the short pass from Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer to a running back, Collins leaped high near the line of scrimmage, snagged the ball with his right hand and managed to hang on to it as he crashed on his back. He then jumped up and sprinted off the field surrounded by exuberant teammates.

“It just happened,” Collins said earlier this month. “I knew the play was going to come. I was wearing the gloves. It just came right into my hand.”

Collins had played backup behind Ta’Quon Graham at defensive tackle for the first nine games. He was one of only two true freshmen who saw considerable playing time during the season.

When Graham left the team to prepare for the NFL draft, Collins moved into the starting lineup for the bowl game. 

“That was the best game I’ve ever played,” he said. “I finally got the opportunity to show everybody.”

Collins finished his freshman season with 23 tackles, 1½ sacks, three pass breakups and two tackles for loss.

Collins is listed as 6 feet 5 on the Texas roster but said he is actually 6-6 and weighs 305 pounds.

“I’ve for sure grown,” he said.

Longhorn freshman Alfred Collins joyfully walks off the field after the victory over West Virginia in November at Royal-Memorial Stadium. Collins backed up Ta’Quon Graham at defensive tackle for the first nine games.

Collins listed two areas for improvement as he prepares for a starting role. He has to maintain a low shoulder pad level and use his hands more on pass rushing. Keeping his pad level low will prevent offensive linemen from driving him backward. He said he's constantly working on it in practice.

“I just want to be more vocal, get in top shape and be relentless like in my high school days,” he said.

Collins will return to Cedar Creek for the summer and work out in the weight room at the high school as well as doing technique and conditioning work. With the arrival of new head coach Steve Sarkisian, Texas players have had to make adjustments.

“We don’t talk about (starting),” Collins said. “It’s basically about work. They’re going to rotate people a lot.”

Collins said he completed his first semester with a 3.5 grade-point average and plans to major in communications.

While he’s home this summer, he also wants to pass the test for his driver’s license. He said he’s been too busy to take it.