Nico Collins, Wolverine

Nico Collins, Wolverine

February 2, 2017

Pinson (AL) Clay-Chalkville WR Nico Collins

Pinson (AL) Clay-Chalkville wide receiver Nico Collins committed to Michigan on Wednesday afternoon. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, and LSU, among others.

Collins is 6’5″, 195 lbs. As a junior in 2015, he caught 60 passes for 1,103 yards and 16 touchdowns. He followed that up with 43 catches for 865 yards and 9 touchdowns as a senior.

ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #21 WR, #150 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #17 WR, #120 overall
Scout: 4-star, #24 WR, #178 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 92 grade, #29 WR, #200 overall

Hit the jump for more on Collins.

Collins was high on Michigan for a long time, and he visited Ann Arbor several times on his own dime. For whatever reason, he held off on committing and then Georgia started to creep in. In fact, the Bulldogs seemed to take the lead, even though Collins was reported to be a silent commitment. Then word came out that the Georgia deal was falling through, and Collins fell back into the hands of Michigan. Even heading into this past weekend, most people thought he would join Isaiah Wilson in Athens.

Collins has a tall, lanky body with long legs and long arms. Because of his height and long arms, he has a reach advantage over most corners and can be physical when going after the ball, since referees rarely throw pass interference flags against the offense. He also does a nice job of catching the ball away from his body, so he can catch fade passes, back shoulder fades, jump balls, etc. His long arms also help him in the blocking department, where he can get into a cornerbacks’ chests before they have a great chance to react. Collins is also a physical runner who can shake off tackle attempts from smaller players.

On the negative side, Collins does not have great speed and is a long-strider as a runner. His deep threat ability comes more from his size and length than his speed, but if he can get going in a straight line, he has some decent speed. His short-area quickness is the bigger issue, and that affects his route running. He is a little bit sloppy with his routes and needs to improve in that area to create separation. One thing that I noticed during The Opening last summer is that he seems to let one poor play affect his mentality. If he makes a mistake, drops a pass, etc., he needs to shake it off and move on to the next play. Coming from a small-ish school in Alabama, he needs to experience better competition.

I think Collins is a very good prospect. He’s not an all-around receiver like Donovan Peoples-Jones, but not many people are. I think he can be used in much the same way as Michigan used Devin Funchess back in 2014. He’s not a quasi-tight end, but a jumbo receiver who might be able to surprise some people with his speed once in awhile. Michigan has not had a ton of success recruiting jump-ball types of guys (Csont’e York, Jaron Dukes, etc.), but Collins is taller and more athletic than those guys.

Michigan now has five wide receivers in the 2017 class – Collins, Peoples-Jones, Brad Hawkins, Tarik Black, and Oliver Martin. That’s a wide array of sizes, speeds, and skill sets. Michigan wasn’t able to recruit a super-speedy 5’10” slot guy, but that’s about all that’s missing. There’s some talk that this could be Michigan’s best wide receiver recruiting class in history. It certainly has that potential. This group is going to push for immediate playing time, and while Collins himself has some things to improve, this should be a star-studded group in two or three years.

TTB Rating: 85 (ratings explanation)


  1. crazyjoedavola
    Comments: 192
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Feb 02, 2017 at 3:30 PM

    Something must have gone terribly wrong on his OV to Georgia… oh well, I won’t lose any sleep over it.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 3724
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Feb 02, 2017 at 3:36 PM

    I keep waiting for a long tall “catching radius” player to pan out as a difference maker for Michigan. I think we’re getting closer to the talent level necessary for that to be the case with Black and Collins. Then again…Drake Harris is still around doing not much and he might be faster than all the rest.

    FWIW I prefer my “possession receivers” to be 6’1 route-running artisans than 6’4 jump-ballers. I’m glad Martin is part of the class.

    My spread in excitement between DPJ and Collins is a lot more than the TTB rank difference. I think with the 5 guys they have it’s unlikely that even 3 of them end up at all conference level performance, particularly with McDoom, Crawford, and Johnson in the preceding class.

    • DonAZ
      Comments: 368
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      Feb 02, 2017 at 5:22 PM

      I’m particularly interested in seeing how Martin works out. He’s my “I’m keeping an eye on him” guy from this class.

  3. Comments: 7
    Joined: 9/18/2016
    Feb 02, 2017 at 8:40 PM

    I would predict Martin to have more career yards than Nico. It’s not a knock on Nico. I just think Martin has some unique skill sets in the slot that are really going to help him excel.

    • Comments: 147
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      Feb 03, 2017 at 9:06 AM

      agree with that prediction

  4. Comments: 840
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Feb 03, 2017 at 12:07 AM

    Thunder, how do rate his intangibles?
    Willingness to block, etc?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2546
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 03, 2017 at 8:33 PM

      At the very least, I think he’s willing to bully people who are smaller than him. You see that in some of his highlights. But again, I go back to that mental aspect that I saw at The Opening, and I wonder how he’ll react if he comes up against a physical corner who tries to push him around. Granted, there aren’t many 6’5″ corners, but there might be some 6’2″ guys who are taught to be physical and embrace that mentality.

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