Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Football - New Recruiting Coordinator

It's not official publicly, but it's getting that way. Looks like Geoff Collins is taking over as recruiting coordinator for the Jackets, leaving Western Carolina, where he is currently the defensive coordinator / asst coach / secondary.

Here's his complete biography:

Geoff Collins, like head coach Kent Briggs, returned to his alma mater WCU as defensive coordinator in 2002 after three seasons at Georgia Tech. In addition to his role as coordinator, Collins will oversee the defensive backs.

Over his tenure at Western, the Catamount defense has shown steady improvement. In 2002, Collins helped Ahmed Green earn first team All-Southern Conference, while defensive end Michale Spicer was tabbed All-American.

In 2003, under Collins' direction, the Catamount defense emerged as one of the best in the nation. Despite playing two NCAA Division I teams and three of the I-AA top 15 rushing teams, Western led the SoCon in rushing defense for the first time since joining the league in 1976, while ranking 14th nationally. A further look in side the numbers show Western only allowed opponents to gain 2.65 yards per rush, which was the fourth-lowest total in the nation. What makes that feat even more impressive is that the Catamount defense suffered three season-ending injuries to starting defense backs, forcing players to play multiple positions and forcing true freshman defensive backs Mitchell Dukes and Ryan Nesby to contribute early and often. Three Catamount defenders earned All-SoCon that season, including defensive ends Nick McNeil (first team)and Spicer (first team) as well as linebacker Rod Dunlap.

In 2004, Western Carolina's defense only allowed 301.91 yards per game to end the season ranked 12th nationally, which is the school's highest ever national ranking at season's end. In addition, Western ranked 15th in the nation in pass defense, allowing just 163.64 yards per game. It marked the first time since 2001 WCU was ranked among the nation's top 20 in pass defense. While Western slipped to 41st nationally against the run, allowing just 138.27 yards per game, the Cats held the four of nation's top rushing teams a combined 118.5 yards below their season average, including Georgia Southern (first in I-AA), Wofford (second in I-AA), Nicholls State (10th in I-AA) and Furman (14th in I-AA). In addition to tackle Albert Reid earning first team All-SoCon honors, defensive backs Primus Glover and Bruce Lee were named to the all-league team.

Collins spent the 2001 season as the Yellow Jackets tight ends coach after two years (1999-2000) with the Rambling Wreck as a graduate assistant. In his final year at Georgia Tech, Collins helped tight end Russell Matvay post career highs with 22 receptions for 245 yards.

Before Tech, Collins spent two years as the defensive coordinator and linebackers and secondary coach at Albright College in Reading, Pa. In 1997, the NCAA Division III program boasted the leading defense in its conference and ranked in the top 10 nationally in all defensive categories, while in 1998 the Lions' defense ranked among the top three in their league. In 1996, Collins served as an assistant coach at Fordham University, working with the outside linebackers while also serving as the junior varsity defensive coordinator. He also spent one season (1995) as an assistant coach at Franklin (N.C.) High School while student teaching in the Macon County Public Schools.

Collins tallied 194 tackles as an outside linebacker and defensive back for the Catamounts from 1989-92. He was the team's fifth leading tackler as a junior with 68, while registering six tackles for losses. As a senior, he helped Western to a 7-4 record, logging 62 total hits and five tackles for losses. He began his coaching career as a student assistant on the Western Carolina staff in 1993, when the Catamounts were the preseason No. 1 team in NCAA Division I-AA.

A native of Conyers, Ga., who attended Rockdale County High School, Collins earned a bachelor's degree from Western Carolina in Sport Management and Exercise Science in 1994 and then completed the Education curriculum in 1995. He did postgraduate work in psychology at Fordham University and Georgia Tech.

He is married to the former Jennifer Haynes, who is also a Western Carolina graduate.

Pretty impressive credentials actually. Now, here's my take - you're looking at the possible future successor to Jon Tenuta as DC when he takes a head coaching job. It may not be this off-season, but it will happen and when it does - this guy will be on the short list. After all, why would anyone take a job as a recruiting coordinator only when you are currently a defensive coordinator? Has to be a hint of a promise of a future if you ask me.

Here's the good thing - all indications are that Collins is an OUTSTANDING recruiter. Very aggressive, very persistant and has the personal touch. Student-athletes that were recruited by him seem to have very positive things to say about their experience. So all-in-all this seems to be a great move in a very much needed area - recruiting.