The Pittsburgh Steelers had Southern Mississippi outside linebacker Jamie Collins in for a pre draft visit on Tuesday and our scouting buddy Dave-Te\’ Thomas was nice enough once again to pass along his scouting report profile on him, which you can read below.
Outside Linebacker/Rush Defensive End
University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
McCall Creek, Mississippi
Franklin County High School
For any team utilizing the “Bandit” position, in order to be successful, the staff must place complete trust in their best athlete. In Collins, the Golden Eagles have been blessed with the “perfect hybrid,” as he is definitely a playmaker whose adjustments from one play to the next has seen him line up at inside linebacker, on the weak-side, the strong-side, along the front wall and even dropping back to play safety in certain passing situations.
In Collins, opposing offensive coordinators have found him to be a player that needs to be accounted for on every snap. He has proven without a doubt that he is a physical tackler capable of stopping the run, even when challenged by multiple offensive linemen that far outweigh the defender. In the “40” technique, he is often battling the weak-side offensive tackle, where he has had great success in disrupting the pocket and keying on ball carriers, collecting a total of 45 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 21 quarterback sacks, the fifth-best total in school history.
Since he was shifted from the secondary after his freshman season, Collins has made 123 plays vs. the ground game. In that span of 39 contests, he limited those ball carriers to 286 yards (2.33 ypc), no touchdowns and fourteen first downs. He has produced 29 third-down hits and three more on fourth-down snaps, in addition to delivering 44 of his tackles inside the red zone, with 19 of those stops coming on goal-line plays. He has penetrated the back-field to record 41 stops-for-loss and has taken down ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain on 26 occasions.
While most performers at the “Bandit” position appear to have most of their success vs. the running game, Collins’ athletic skills, quickness, field smarts and high school experience as a quarterback has also seen him develop into an elite pass defender. He has great change of direction agility and easily adjusts to the ball in flight. He is quick to get in position to make the play, knowing that his pass responsibility is covering the tight ends and slot receivers in the “single-back twin” set, and running backs coming out of the backfield to his side of the field in the classic two-back set.
Collins has excellent leaping ability and timing going up for the ball, as this has allowed him to record three interceptions that he has returned for 134 yards and a pair of touch-downs, including a then school-record 97-yarder, while also breaking up thirteen other tosses since the beginning of 2010. Since moving into the starting lineup, quarterbacks have targeted 123 passes into his area, completing just 27 attempts (21.95%) for 166 yards, no touchdowns and thirteen first downs.
Those that have been successful in catching balls thrown to them vs. Collins, have averages of 6.15 yards per pass completion and a miniscule 1,35 yards per pass attempt. In addition to the sixteen passes he has defended (three interceptions, thirteen pass break-ups), he has pressured quarterbacks into throwing fifteen incomplete tosses, with three of those hurries causing interceptions that led to USM scoring drives.
Additionally, his physical press coverage ability has allowed Collins to reroute/jam his coverage assignments away from 47 pass attempts (38.21% of throws targeted into his area). He has made 41 third-down stops and ten more on fourth-down plays vs. the aerial game. Twice, he has tackled receivers for losses and three other times, he brought those pass catchers down for no gain.
While run-stuffing and pass coverage skills evidently show his quality as a defender, the playmaker has also produced nine other turnovers for the Golden Eagles, as he caused turnovers on four fumbles, recovered four other fumbles, including one that he ran back 16 yards for a touchdown vs. Tulane as a freshman and blocked a kick that led to a USM touchdown drive.
Collins’ resume, while impressive, also includes an exclamation point – his stellar ability to perform as a gunner for the special team coverage units. In his last three seasons, he has recorded sixteen tackles for the kickoff unit and five more for the punt coverage team. In addition to his blocked kick, he recovered a fumbled kickoff by a USM player and gained 33 yards on that runback vs. Virginia in 2009.
Collins has made his mark throughout his career. Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players, his 314 total tackles rank twelfth. He placed sixth with 45 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including ranking tied for second with 42 solo stops-for-loss. His 21 sacks rank fifth in school annals and tied for twelfth among active players, while he is tied for eighth nationally with eight forced fumbles during his career.
Prior to his arrival on the University of Southern Mississippi campus, Collins was a standout performer in football and basketball at local Franklin City High School. On the gridiron, he competed as a quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker and safety. As a sophomore and junior, he was under the guidance of head coach Grady McCluskey, who turned the coaching reigns over to Trent Hammond for Collins’ senior season in 2008.
The 2006 football team ranked 13th in the state, compiling a 14-0 record while going undefeated in Class 3A-Region VII league competition. He guided the Bulldogs to the Class 3A state championship, as the quarterback threw for 26 touchdowns and 2,013 yards, earning All-State honors from Max Lemming’s recruiting service.
In 2007, Collins was a dual threat with the ball in his hands. The team finished 21st in the state, as the All-Class 3A and All-Region VII choice compiled over 1,200 yards rushing and over 1,000 yards passing for a squad that went 12-3. Max Preps rated the versatile athlete as the 12th-best combination passer in the nation.
As a senior, Collins helped the new coaches enjoy a 12-2 season, as the Bulldogs ranked 27th in the state, second in Region VII competition and third in the Class 3A ranks. He guided the team the Class 3A South state championship game, where the Bulldogs lost to district rival Tylertown. He was listed 21st on the Rivals.com Mississippi Top 30 team, as that recruiting service gave him a three-star prospect rating and called him the nation’s 68th-best overall athlete.
Scout.com also rated Collins as a three-star prospect, along with placing him 37th among the nation’s prep linebackers (weak-side). He added All-Class 3A, All-Region VII honors and was named to the Clarion Ledger’s All-State first-team in 2008. He concluded his foot-ball career by playing in the prestigious Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game. After his junior and senior gridiron seasons, he also suited up for head coach Chris Jordan and the Franklin County High basketball team.
There was a bit of drama for Collins after his high school football career. He had originally intended to enroll at Auburn University, but when the Tigers dismissed former head coach Tommy Tuberville and his coaching staff, the athlete had a change of heart. “I am not committed to Auburn any more,” said Collins in early December, 2008, noting that he wanted to play for Tuberville’s coaching staff. “I guess it\’s just for the best,” said Collins. “They have to keep their heads up and keep playing hard. Things like this happen.”
Rather than stay with his original decision to attend Auburn, when the university announced that Gene Chizik was replacing Tuberville, Collins again reopened his recruiting process – enter the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.
Collins grew up a “rock\’s throw” from Highway 98, the road taken to USM. He decided that it was best for his future that he would be taken the state’s busiest highway and made the drive from Franklin County to Hattiesburg. “I am going to Southern Miss,” said the former Auburn commitment on January 8th, 2009. “I decided when I was down at the All-Star practices down in Alabama.”
The Golden Eagles\’ persistence made quite an impact on the talented athlete. “USM stayed on me even when I was committed to Auburn,” said Collins. “They were still recruiting me. They never gave up.” The former Bulldog had played in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star roster as a defensive back and was now prepared to put his coverage skills to the test in Conference USA.
“They said safety,” said Collins of his projected position. “Coach David Duggan [who recruited Collins also said I could get a shot at quarterback if I wanted it.” The player reported that this was his final decision and one his family was very supportive of. “My family wants me to go to Southern,” said Collins. “They didn\’t really want me to all the way over to Alabama.”
Arriving on campus as a 210-pound true freshman, Collins performed as a reserve for the USM secondary at safety, but in the second half of the 2009 campaign, he took over nickel back duties. Playing in all thirteen games, the USM Athletic Director’s Honor Roll choice went on to record 48 tackles (27 solos), producing a sack in each of the Kansas and Marshall contests. He caused a fumble vs. Tulsa and recovered two others, including one that he returned sixteen yards for a touchdown vs. Tulane.
Collins arrived for his sophomore campaign boasting a chiseled 231-pound body, having added over twenty pounds of bulk to his frame since his freshman year. He again played in all thirteen games, starting at weak-side linebacker vs. East Carolina and then as USM’s strong-side linebacker five of the team’s final six contests (team opened with a multiple defensive back formation vs. Houston).
Collins finished second on the team with 76 tackles (45 solos), 2.5 sacks and 3.5 stops for loss. He caused and recovered a fumble, broke up two passes and intercepted two others, returning one 32 yards for a touchdown vs. East Carolina during his first career starting assignment.
The sophomore was named All-Conference USA honorable mention in 2010. Twenty-one of his 76 tackles killed scoring drives and he added sixteen more tackles on special teams, including fourteen hits for the kickoff squad. Opponents gained just 103 yards on 39 running plays that Collins delivered stops on (2.64 ypc). On 41 passes targeted into his area, he allowed fifteen receptions (35.71%) for 129 yards (8.6 yards per completion/3.15 yards per attempt) and rerouted his coverage assignment away from eleven throws.
Collins took over “bandit” duties full-time in 2011, as the All-Conference USA first-team pick started all fourteen games for the Golden Eagles, finishing third on the squad with a career-best 98 tackles (58 solos). His 6.5 sacks placed second on the squad and his 19.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage were good for fourth among league performers. He added twelve pressures, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and eight pass break-ups. His 97-yard interception return for a touchdown vs. East Carolina is the second-longest pass theft runback in school history.
Entering his final season, Collins, a member of the Bednarik, Butkus, Nagurski and Lombardi Award watch lists switched from jersey #22 to #8. He started every game at the “Bandit” position, leading the team with 92 tackles, as his ten sacks ranked second in the conference and 21st in the nation. That total also tied for fifth on the USM season-record list.
The senior also led USM with 20.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage, which also tied for fifth on the school annual record list. He caused four fumbles, the third best season total by a Golden Eagles in a campaign. He also broke up three tosses. Just 3-of-20 passes targeted into his area has been caught by his coverage assignments. On 72 tackles made vs. the ground game, those ball carriers tallied just 28 yards (0.39 ypc).
Collins appeared in 52 games for Southern Mississippi, starting 34 contests – three at nickel back in 2009, five at strong-side outside linebacker and one on the weak-side in 2010, and his final 25 appearances at the “Bandit” position…Recorded 314 tackles (196 solos) with 21.0 sacks for minus 150 yards, 45.0 stops for losses totaling 226 yards and fifteen quarterback pressures…Caused seven fumbles and recovered three others, as he returned two for a total of 29 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown…Deflected thirteen passes and intercepted four others for 134 yards in returns, along with two touchdowns, including a 97-yard runback vs. East Carolina in 2011…His 97-yarder is the second-longest return in school history, topped by a 100-yard return by Kendrick Presley vs. Memphis in 2011…Collins’ 97-yarder also placed ninth on the Conference USA longest interception return record list…His 19.5 tackles-for-loss in 2011 is good for ninth, and his 20.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage is tied for fifth on the USM season-record chart…His 21.0 sacks rank fifth on the USM all-time record chart…His seven forced fumbles are tied for fifth in school annals…Since moving to linebacker/bandit in 2010, Collins has made 153 plays vs. the running game, as those ball carriers failed to score and recorded 286 yards (1.87 ypc) with fourteen first downs…Collins produced 29 third-down hits, three more on fourth-down snaps and 44 tackles inside the red zone, including 19 on goal-line plays while taking ball carriers down at the line of scrimmage for no gain 26 times, in addition to posting five touchdown-saving tackles vs. the rushing game…Has also made stops on 123 pass plays, rerouting receivers away from 47 of those tosses targeted into his area (38.21%), as he has sixteen passes defended and allowed just 27 catches (21.95%) for 166 yards, an average of 6.15 yards per completion and 1.35 yards per pass attempt, yielding thirteen first-down catches while stopping the aerial game on 41 third-down and ten fourth-down snaps, in addition to recording four touchdown-saving tackles vs. the aerial attack…On special teams, Collins has registered sixteen tackles for the kickoff squad and five more for the punt coverage unit since the beginning of his sophomore season… Among current NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision active players, Collins ranks tied for 20th in the nation with sixteen total sacks, tied for 14th with fifteen of those QB drops coming on solo efforts and 16th with 161 solo tackles (270 total). He is also tied for 12th with 36.0 total tackles-for-loss, tied for sixth with 33 solo tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 12th with 164 yards in total losses.
Collins received All-American Super Sleeper Team, in addition to earning All-Conference USA first-team recognition from The NFL Draft Report…Was also selected All-C-USA first-team by the league’s coaches…Member of the Bednarik, Butkus, Lombardi and Nagurski Award watch lists…The senior “Bandit” switched to jersey #8 after wearing #22 the three previous seasons…Led the Golden Eagles with 92 tackles (66 solos)…Ranked second in the league and 21st nationally, as his ten sacks for minus 84 yards tied Chris Jackson (1983) for fifth on the school annual sack record list…Led the conference and placed seventh in the nation with 20.0 stops for losses of 117 yards, as that total tied Adalius Thomas (1998), Rod Davis (2003) and Michael Boley (2004) for fifth on the USM season-record chart…Deflected five passes, as his four forced fumbles tied Mark Carmichael (1982), Chad Williams (2000) and Cordarro Law (in both 2010 and ’11) for third on the school record list…Just 3-of-20 passes targeted into his area has been caught by his coverage assignments…On 72 tackles made vs. the ground game, those ball carriers tallied just 28 yards (0.39 ypc)…Posted seventeen tackles inside the red zone, including six on goal-line plays, along with delivering twenty third-down hits and another four on fourth-down snaps, as he posted six touchdown-saving tackles vs. the running attack…On 20 passes targeted into his area, he rerouted his coverage assignment away from eleven of those throws (55.00%)…Also recorded a pair of tackles for the punt coverage unit…In the season opener vs. Nebraska, Collins was the lone bright spot, leading all defenders from both teams with thirteen tackles (7 solos) that included an 8-yard sack and 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. His first tackle for the 2012 campaign was typical Jamie Collins, as he slammed Mike Marrow to the ground on a third-down carry that netted just three yards during the game’s first possession…The senior posted seven tackles that included a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage and a pass deflection vs. East Carolina…The upstart Western Kentucky Hilltoppers rushed to a 42-17 victory with 369 yards on the ground, but managed only seven yards on six carries vs. Collins, who came up with seven tackles (6 solos), a 10-yard sack, two stops for losses and a pass break-up…In a heartbreaking 21-17 loss to Louisville, the senior defender produced eight tackles, assisting on one stop behind the line of scrimmage, but was also flagged for a face mask penalty to begin second half action on a third-down running play that gave the Cardinals a first down…Collins continued to shine vs. Boise State, as he recorded double-digit tackles (ten) for the second time during his senior season, adding a 9-yard sack and a pressure that caused an interception. Outside of two penalties (face mask and a false start with the punt unit), the senior was all over the field, as for the second-straight week, his chase-down resulted in a touchdown-saving tackle, as he stopped receiver Mitch Burroughs on a 12-yard reverse during the game’s opening series. Two plays later, he broke into the backfield, flushing Joe Southwick out of the pocket, as the QB uncorked an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by USM’s Dylan Reda…The Rice contest saw Collins record a 13-yard sack, two stops-for-loss and twelve tackles (9 solos), as he followed with nine hitsd, three sacks, four stops for losses of 27 yards, two forced fumbles and a pass deflection vs. Alabama-Birmingham, earning National Player of the Week honors from The NFL Draft Report…Added two more stops for loss among seven tackles, as he caused a fumble and also had a pressure that caused an interception vs. Southern Methodist…Was in on eight hits (7 solos) that included a 7-yard sack and two stops behind the line of scrimmage in the Texas-El Paso clash.
Collins earned All-American honorable mention and All-Conference USA first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, as that scouting information service called the “Bandit” the most underrated athlete in his league…Wore jersey #22, starting all fourteen games at the demanding “Bandit” position, leading the team to the conference title while placing third on the squad with 98 tackles (58 solos) and finishing second with 6.5 sacks for minus 45 yards, adding twelve quarterback pressures…His 19.5 tackles for losses of 86 yards ranked second on the team, fourth in the league and tied for 16th nationally, as that total was also good for eighth on the school season-record chart…Caused two fumbles, had one fumble recovery, ranked third on the team with eight pass deflections and recorded the second-longest interception return in school history, when he ran back a pass theft 97 yards for a touchdown vs. East Carolina…In run support, he produced a total of 21 hits for losses (assists and solos), as he stopped sixteen ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain, adding thirteen third-down hits and two more on fourth-down snaps while those runners amassed 155 yards on 81 running plays directed at him (1.91 ypc) that included just six first downs. He also posted two touchdown-saving tackles vs. the ground attack, along with two more vs. the passing game…Had 62 passes targeted into his territory, rerouting his opponent away from 25 of those throws (40.32%) while seeing just nine tosses caught (14.52%) for only 17 yards, an average of 1.89 yards per completion and 0.27 yards per attempt. The junior made 22 third-down hits and four more on fourth-down plays vs. the aerial game…Totaled 28 of his tackles inside the red zone, with fourteen coming on goal-line snaps…Credited with two tackles playing with the kickoff coverage team and one more for the punt unit…Was in on eight tackles (4 solos) that included a sack vs. Marshall…The spent most of his day in Southeastern Louisiana’s backfield, registering a career-best four stops for loss among his six tackles (5 solos). He also provided stellar pass coverage, breaking up three pass attempts while preventing Lions receivers from catching six other throws…In a 30-24 decision over Virginia, Collins posted his seventh and eighth tackle for loss this season in the first quarter, as he also recorded six hits (4 solos) and broke up a pass attempt…For the fifth consecutive game, Collins delivered a stop behind the line of scrimmage, as he finished with seven tackles (5 solos) while again taking on all comers in pass coverage, as he deflected three throws for the second time in three games (also had three break-ups vs. Southeastern Louisiana on September 17th) vs. Rice…With a season-best eleven tackles vs. Navy to his credit, Collins paced a defense that helped USM to a 63-35 victory…Registered two pressures and a stop behind the line of scrimmage, adding seven tackles (5 solos) vs. Southern Methodist…
The Texas-El Paso offensive line could not prevent the onslaught of pressures generated by Collins, as all three of his hurries happened on third-down snaps, forcing UTEP to punt after each harassment, as the Bandit also delivered seven tackles (5 solos), with four of those hits coming inside the red zone…His third career interception brought the fans to their feet, as he serpentined through a slew of would-be tacklers to return the pass theft for a then school record 97-yard touchdown less than six minutes into the contest. He also made six tackles that included 1.5 sacks in a 48-28 win over East Carolina. “They jumped out on us on a quick pass play,” Southern Miss defensive end Cordarro Law said. “But Jamie\’s interception bounced us back and we got the momentum. For the defense to get a turnover and go down and score, it pumped us up.”…In the Central Florida game, Collins registered the ninth sack for his career, coming up with another stop behind the line of scrimmage, a pass deflection and eight tackles (7 solos)…The Golden Eagles earned a berth in the Conference USA Championship Game after defeating Memphis, 44-7, as Collins delivered eight tackles (3 solos) for the third consecutive week. He also produced a sack, two stops-for-loss, a forced fumble and three pressures while serving as game captain for the fifth time in 2011…In the Conference USA Championship vs. Houston, he added two more stops behind the line of scrimmage, giving him 19.5 for his junior campaign, as one of those was a 7-yard sack. He finished with nine tackles while getting into the backfield constantly to record a trio of pressures.
Collins was named All-Conference USA honorable mention, as the sophomore appeared in all thirteen games, moving to the linebacker unit from the secondary prior to the season opener…Would earn a starting assignment at weak-side linebacker vs. East Carolina and on the strong-side in each of the Alabama-Birmingham, Tulane, Central Florida, Tulsa and Louisville contests…Finished third on the squad with 76 tackles (45 solos) that included 2.5 sacks for minus 11 yards, 3.5 stops for losses of 12 yards and two pressures…Had one forced fumble and advanced a fumble recovery 13 yards…Deflected two passes and came up with two interceptions for 37 yards, including a 32-yard runback for a touchdown…Was in on fourteen tackles for the kickoff coverage team and two more with the punt coverage unit…Credited with ten tackles inside the red zone, including four on goal-line plays…In run force, on 39 plays, he limited those ball carriers to 103 yards (2.64 ypc), no scores and just four first downs, as he delivered one touchdown-saving tackle to go along with six third-down hits vs. the rushing attack…Opponents targeted 41 passes into Collins’ area, as he rerouted his coverage assignment away from eleven tosses (26.83%) while allowing fifteen receptions (36.59%) for 129 yards and ten first downs, as he made a pair of touch-down saving tackles, eleven third-down hits and four more on fourth down…Recorded fourteen tackles for the kickoff coverage team and two more with the punt unit.
Collins was named to the USM Athletic Director\’s Honor Roll for the fall semester, as the 210-pound safety appeared in all thirteen games…Took over nickel back chores late in the season, starting when the Golden Eagles used a five-back set in the secondary vs. Houston, Marshall and Tulsa…Registered 48 tackles (27 solos) with a pair of sacks for minus 10 yards and three stops for losses of 12 yards…Caused a fumble and recovered two others, returning one 16 yards for a touchdown vs. Tulane…Recovered a fumbled kickoff return that he advanced 33 yards vs. Virginia and blocked a field goal try vs. Middle Tennessee State in the New Orleans Bowl.
2010 Season…Briefly left the Memphis game (10/16) with 6:10 remaining in the third quarter when he was shaken up while trying to make a tackle.
2012 Postseason…Suffered a hamstring pull during the first day of practices conducted by the 2013 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
4.64 in the 40-yard dash…1.58 10-yard dash…2.68 20-yard dash…4.32 20-yard shuttle…
11.55 60-yard shuttle…7.13 three-cone drill…41 ½-inch vertical jump…11’6” broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times…33 3/8-inch arm length…9 7/8-inch hands…80-inch wingspan.
Collins attended Franklin County (Meadville, MS) High School, where he first played football for head coach Grady McClusky as a quarterback, receiver and safety before concluding his career as a quarterback and outside linebacker for Bulldogs head coach Trent Hammond in 2008…The 2006 football team ranked 13th in the state, compiling a 14-0 record while going undefeated in Class 3A-Region VII league competition. He guided the Bulldogs to the Class 3A state championship, as the quarterback threw for 26 touchdowns and 2,013 yards, earning All-State honors from Max Lemming’s recruiting service…In 2007, he was a dual threat with the ball in his hands. The team finished 21st in the state, as the All-Class 3A and All-Region VII choice compiled over 1,200 yards rushing and over 1,000 yards passing for a squad that went 12-3. Max Preps rated the versatile athlete as the 12th-best combination passer in the nation…As a senior, Collins helped the new coaches enjoy a 12-2 season, as the Bulldogs ranked 27th in the state, second in Region VII competition and third in the Class 3A ranks. He guided the team the Class 3A south state championship game, where the Bulldogs lost to district rival Tylertown…Listed 21st on the Rivals.com Mississippi Top 30 team, as that recruiting service gave him a three-star prospect rating and called him the nation’s 68th-best overall athlete…Scout.com also rated Collins as a three-star prospect, along with placing him 37th among the nation’s prep linebackers (weak-side)…Added All-Class 3A, All-Region VII honors and was named to the Clarion Ledger’s All-State first-team in 2008…Concluded his prep football career by playing in the prestigious Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game…After his junior and senior gridiron seasons, he also suited up for head coach Chris Jordan and the Franklin County High basketball team.
Interdisciplinary Studies major, with an emphasis in Industrial Engineering Technology…
Member of the USM Athletic Director’s Honor Roll during the fall semester…Born 10/20/89 and resides in Meadville, Mississippi.