The Rutgers football coaching staff continues to put work on the recruiting trail and received their fourth offensive player commit of the 2020 recruiting class. The Scarlet Knights secured a verbal commitment from Shawn Collins of Montclair on Saturday:
Rutgers was the first power five conference school (six total) to offer Isaiah per 247sports, but Boston College, Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech also showed strong interest. At 6’5” and 205 pounds, Collins is a solid three-star prospect, the 36th best in New Jersey and 67th best tight end nationally for the 2020 class according to the 247 composite which includes other sources.
Shawn doesn’t have as much film out there as others, because he plays tight end and that negatively impacts his recruiting ratings. The first thing you notice is how willing he is to mix things up at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball whereas if he was less enthused about being physical he’d just line up as a wide receiver. He mostly lines up as an in-line tight end and defensive players opposite him have a tough choice to make, either man up to avoid being shoved backwards or susceptible to him leaking into the flat or seam for an easy completion. When he does get the ball, he shows an ability to haul in anything in his vicinity, which will bode quite well for a team that needs players to win 50-50 balls.
Shawn shows this same ability on defense, knocking passes at the line or intercepting ones others got a hand on while engaged with offensive personnel. Of course we’d like to see more catches, yards, and touchdowns as a senior, but the physical ability is there. The level of competition he faces is inconsistent, but that doesn’t bother me because tight ends never show up on college campuses ready to play at the college level anyway, not even Marco Battaglia. Since Collins plays both ways at tight end and defensive end, his overall development as a complete football player advances more quickly in the fall than guys who only play one position. This is extra important because Shawn does not play football year round like many recruits from other states, he runs track and plays basketball, both of which are excellent in making him a better all-around athlete which probably benefits tight ends more than any other position.
Collins is at worst a solid three-star prospect who will compete hard in practice and provide depth at tight end and defensive end like Myles Nash did in his career. Collins most likely will be able to contribute in the tight end rotation sub packages by his redshirt sophomore season like Nakia Griffin-Stewart with hopefully more receiving opportunities. Best case Shawn is a serious threat as a receiver, credible enough as a blocker like Shamar Graves and go to the NFL.
I like the pickup because Rutgers has struggled to recruit tight ends over the past few seasons. The exodus of three players who were recruited by the previous coaching staff including fullback Max Anthony left Travis Vokolek the only one who came to RU specifically under Ash. With Vokolek’s transfer as well, it left a complete overhaul of the entire position group in less than 12 months. This is particularly frustrating because in a credible pro style passing attack, tight end can serve as a go to guy and security blanket. Also what makes tight end so great is that as many guys who can play will play, because in a pro style offense you can have anywhere from one to three plus a fullback on the field at the same time if they have earned it. This was one of the key strategies Jim Harbaugh built up Stanford from the Pac-12 basement to national powerhouse almost overnight.
Collins is the first Tight End in this class, joining two quarterbacks and a wide receiver on the offensive side of the ball. The six total verbal commits thus far each have a 3-star rating in the latest 247 composite rankings. With two quarterbacks, a wideout, and a TE, it’s obvious the coaching staff knows that to get better they need to upgrade the passing game.
Check out some highlights:
Welcome to the banks Shawn!