#51 Austin Collins
Position: Offensive Line
Hometown: Perrysburg, OH
Thoughts: Austin was a local prospect from over at CAL (2018 State Champ) who then played his senior season in Perrysburg, OH but continued to catch the eye of the staff here at Louisville. Collins joined the program last year and was projected to be a probable contributor at center in the seasons to come…..and then the season came. With Bentley out for COVID protocol, Bell on the bench with an injury, and then DeGeorge a late scratch, Collins had two days to prepare not only to contribute, but to be the starter. Welcome to the show, young man.
Collins had some understandable jitters but helped lead the line to over 250 rushing yards behind the legs of Jalen Mitchell and Hassan Hall all while dropping 45 points on Wake’s head. Collins played a fairly clean game for a young man who had never played a snap of competitive center in his life and positioned himself to be in a great spot entering 2021. The funny thing about COVID is that it giveth (the start) and then it taketh away (the opportunity to start moving forward) all at once. While the pandemic allowed Austin to get his first collegiate reps it also allowed Bentley to get an extra year of eligibility and come back to reprise his role at center this season. Don’t get me wrong, I doubt Collins is kicking rocks over getting to learn from Bentley for another season but it can be frustrating seeing an opportunity or a window open and then have it closed do to no wrongs by you.
While my opinion is that Bentley is your starting center and will probably be backed up by newcomer Hudson, Collins will be in the mix in 2021 and has a decent shot at earning that spot in 2022 if he continues to develop. I like his size at that spot as someone slightly “undersized” by offensive line standards, he is a great fit for what Satterfield likes to do with that position in the run game. Keep an eye out for Collins moving forward as I think he will be a key piece of the next wave of lineman for the Cards.
So in the last game of the season Collins steps up and closes it out in style. Very fitting considering that Mr. Collins is also closing out the “offensive line” section of the countdown in 2021. It’s a been a fun couple weeks (with a couple D line guys mixed in) but tomorrow we reach the peak, and then start picking up steam as we head downhill the last 50 days. Let’s get it.