Upon his junior year, Texas' Alfred Collins says 'there's still room for improvement'
CEDAR CREEK — Like Texas football coaches and teammates, Alfred Collins endured a disappointing 5-7 season. It included a six-game losing skid, the longest since 1956.
But Collins is remaining a Longhorn. He said he has no plans to enter the transfer portal and find greener pastures elsewhere. Label the Cedar Creek alum an optimist.
“(The season) didn’t go as planned, but I feel like it’s up from here,” Collins said last week in the library of Creek Creek Middle School, which he attended years ago and where his mother, Benita, currently teaches seventh grade mathematics. “That’s how I’m looking at it.”
That type of positive attitude in the face of adversity could be contagious.
Collins, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound defensive end, believes that improvement will come by “just perfecting the craft and the defensive scheme,” which was introduced by the new staff.
The defense ranked only No. 114 of out 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams against the run, allowing 201 yards a game. In terms of sacks, it was tied for 98th with 1.67 a game.
“I feel once we get to know the scheme even better, it’ll allow us to get pressure on the quarterback and stop runs,” Collins said.
Collins, a sophomore, played in all 12 games and started four after an injury to Jacoby Jones. He finished the season with 25 tackles (15 solo) and two sacks.
“Obviously, (my season) could have been better,” he said. “There’s still room for improvement. I have a lot of work to do, get stronger, work on my pass rush.”
Collins played at more than 300 pounds but said he intends to remain under that weight.
“I don’t like being over 300,” he said. “It makes me slower.”
Collins didn’t relax during the semester break. He spent nearly every day at HT Fitness on Highway 21 in Cedar Creek lifting weights.
“I want to work on my explosiveness and quickness,” he said.
Upon his return to campus, Collins plans to meet with Torre Becton, the director of sport performance, to set up a regimen in the weight room.
“Get with the experts,” Collins said. “I believe in him and what he has to say.”
The Texas coaching staff signed eight defensive linemen to enter as freshmen, more than any position. Collins relishes the competition.
“I love it,” he said. “It’ll make me step my game up. I don’t want any freshman coming in and taking my spot. They may try to take my spot, but I don’t want that to happen. So that’s going to make me elevate my game.”
If Collins has a breakout junior season, he said he would consider entering the NFL draft.
"I want to have a great season this year,” he said. “If I can stay one more year and better my (NFL) stock, then I will. That’s the ideal. If not, I’ll stay (for a fourth year).”
In the classroom, Collins was selected first-team academic All-Big 12 for his freshman year, which requires a 3.2 GPA. Last fall, he said he earned a 3.4 GPA.
At age 20, Collins hasn’t yet taken his road test for a driver’s license. He’s heard the wait for the test is six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He didn’t appear too concerned about it, though.
His only concern at the moment is being an improved version of himself on the football field.