Arkansas RB Alex Collins' Early-Season Dominance Compares to Adrian Peterson

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2013

True freshman running back Alex Collins had another big game for Arkansas on Saturday, rushing for 115 yards and a touchdown against Southern Miss. Three games into his college career, he now has 418 yards and two touchdowns on 70 carries.

Collins has also topped 100 yards in every game this season, which, as ESPN's Brett McMurphy pointed out, puts him in some elite company:

Collins doesn't have Adrian Peterson's size—not many backs go 6'1''—but he does have a similar combination of power, speed and vision. It's hard to predict the future, but on talent and talent alone, there's no reason he shouldn't eventually become a blue-chip NFL prospect.

What makes his early dominance a little surprising, though, is opportunity. Sophomore Jonathan Williams won the starting job out of camp and has also found success on the ground this season. It seemed he might be a roadblock to Collins' touches.

But new head coach Bret Bielema is famous for his multiple-back ground attack, which he crafted and mastered at Wisconsin. Just last season, three Wisconsin backs—Montee Ball, James White and Melvin Gordon—rushed for over 600 yards, combining to total almost 3,300.

Bielema has brought that system to Fayetteville, and Collins has been an immediate beneficiary. He was the No. 17 player and No. 1 running back in 247Sports' rankings, so he's one of the most talented prospects Bielema has ever worked with.

Collins' mom, who tried to run away with his Arkansas Letter of Intent, might not agree, but this is a marriage made in ground-and-pound heaven.

Williams, who has topped 100 rushing yards in each game, will continue to get touches, but, eventually, Collins should become a true No. 1 back.

When he does, will he be able to replicate Peterson's success?