Want to make an impression at the NFL Scouting Combine?
Do what Jamie Collins did.
Jump 41.5 inches in the vertical. Run an official 4.64 in the 40-yard dash.
Win the broad jump with an 11'7'' leap. Lastly, at your position, finish in the Top 5 in the three-cone drill and 60-yard shuttle.
Do all that, and regardless of where you played your collegiate ball, you'll get noticed.
The Southern Miss outside linebacker put on that freakishly-athletic performance at 6'3'' and 250 pounds.
Time to get to know this uniquely-gifted prospect.
Jamie Collins, from Mississippi, played quarterback in high school and initially planned to sign with the Auburn Tigers. But when Gene Chizik was hired as the school's head coach, he chose to stay in his home state.
So, yeah, he would have been a teammate of Cam Newton's and would have played on the national championship team.
But enough with the hypotheticals.
Collins went to Southern Miss and enjoyed an accomplished career.
After moving from safety to linebacker during his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles, he was named to the Honorable Mention All-Conference USA team after filling the stat sheet with 76 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and two passes defender.
Collins earned the same honors in his junior season, but his numbers were greatly improved.
He started in all 14 outings and racked up 98 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and had eight pass breakups.
In 2012 as a senior, Collins dominated the competition, accumulating 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles, and he defended five passes.
Not surprisingly, he blocked a field goal in the 2009 New Orleans Bowl.
In 2012, Collins spent most his time in Southern Miss' defense as stand-up defensive end with traditional 3-4 outside linebacker duties. His main responsibility was rushing the quarterback, but he did have coverage assignments on occasion and sometimes had his hand on the ground pre-snap.
Three plays in the season-opener against Nebraska illustrated the type of game Collins brings to the field.
On an early Taylor Martinez read-option pass, Collins' initial burst off the line was tremendous.
He convincingly beat the pulling guard to the edge and was at the feet of the quarterback a moment after the play-action fake was executed and took him down for a sack.
On a second-quarter read-option sweep play, Collins started as a defensive end in a three-point stance.
At the sound of the snap, he stood up to set the edge and because no one blocked him, he did so with ease.
But Collins' closing speed made the play, as he met the ball-carrier before he could turn the corner, got a hand on him, and forced a gang tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
A few plays later, Collins was sent backwards nearly five yards by a tight end on a run play—he could add more upper body strength in the NFL.
But he was able to shed the block and turn on the jets to close on the speedy Ameer Abdullah.
The run went for a minimal gain after Collins was manhandled to start the play.
Apparently, some evaluators liked what they saw on tape before Collins took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Spoke to a few scouts In Indy who were high on So Miss LB Jamie Collins. Backed up freak rep, broad jumping 11-7.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) February 25, 2013
He undoubtedly backed up their assertions with a fantastic workout in Indianapolis.
Although Houston weighed in at 270 before the 2011 Scouting Combine and did 11 more reps on the bench than Collins, their workouts were similar, and they resembled each other on tape in college.
Coming from Georgia, Houston was slightly more polished than Collins is now, but the burst and athleticism similarities are uncanny.
In a 3-4 scheme, especially if he adds muscle mass, Collins could have a comparable career arc in the NFL to that of Houston.
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