Mark Stoops went to Atlanta to find his next defensive backs coach. He successfully brought Chris Colins from Georgia State to Lexington, acquiring the Panthers’ young recruiting coordinator. After experiencing success in the Sun Belt, Collins is well aware of the step up into the SEC and he’s “champing at the bit” to hit the trail.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” he shared Friday morning. “I can’t wait to get to it, roll my sleeves up and get to work with an old-fashioned, feet on the ground, blue collar mentality.”
If you think Collins already sounds like a Kentucky assistant on day one, wait until you hear this:
“It’s a relationship business, in terms of recruiting. The most important thing to me is being honest, being upfront, being transparent. Who you are is who you are and understanding that these are 18, 19 sometimes 20-year-old people that want to be pushed to be successful and those are the guys you want to identify with and those are usually the guys that continue to develop and get better. That footprint doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter the level, you wanna get guys and families that are good people that want to continue to get better, want to be challenged to be better and so I’m excited about moving that to the next level in terms of the SEC, and at the end of the day, they’re still people. Relationships are really important and to build relationships, it takes work. To build trust, it takes work. (I’m) Excited about doing the work.”
A blue collar, hard worker, Collins obviously fits the culture that Stoops has created in Lexington. He also has experience recruiting in the state of Georgia, a place Kentucky has invested into more heavily in recent years with Jon Sumrall and Anwar Stewart. That’s not the only place where Collins has recruiting ties.
“I have strong ties in that state of Georgia, a phenomenal football state in terms of high school football. And then in the South Florida area as well we had a pretty good pipeline coming up into the state of Georgia, and then home for me in North Carolina has been good to us as well. I’m excited about continuing to do build that, build that footprint in whatever avenue is needed here.”
Colins has arrived at the right time. The football recruiting dead period ended just days before his addition was officially announced. Some might see his abnormally late arrival as a negative, but Collins doesn’t see it that way.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s also a blessing in regards to everybody’s just now getting guys on campus. It is tremendously different. Usually you come in around February, January, December, around those times that some of those younger guys are getting on campus and so you’re building those relationships. Here, everybody’s been virtual. I’ve had a chance, even at Georgia State, to connect with some of the guys that we’re recruiting here. Virtually, they’re familiar with me. Now it’s getting them on campus. Everybody’s in the same whirlwind of when to get guys here, how to get guys here, official visits, so on and so forth, so that part of it is kind of an even playing field and just the reality of what we’re in.”
There’s no time to waste. It’s time for Collins to go to work and actively recruit top prospects to Lexington. He wouldn’t have it any other.