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May 15, 2004

Is Collins the top back in Miami?

Miami (Fla.) Monsignor Pace is the defending Class 3A state football champion as they knocked off Jacksonville Bolles in 2003. While MVP of the championship game, Jerry Milbrook, is gone, Pace has a very good chance to repeat in 2004 as they feature one of the state's premier tailbacks in Conredge Collins.

"He is a pure running back," Monsignor Pace head coach Joe Zaccheo said. "He has great hands. He can run through you or around you. He has the moves of a tailback and the power of a fullback."

Collins is 6-1 and 220 pounds. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, bench presses 320 pounds and power cleans 285 pounds.

Collins rushed for 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. He earned first-team All-County and third-team All-State honors.

Collins attended the NIKE combine in Miami with many of the states top prospects.

"He did real well," Zaccheo said. "That is where the 4.53 (40-yard) time came. I know that people who were there were high on him."

Zaccheo said Collins has about 10 offers on the table and they include offers from Miami, Florida State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Iowa.

"Recruiters are amazed at how big he is and that he is the total package," Zaccheo said. "He does all the right things."

Zaccheo added that Florida is also very interested in Collins.

"I think if he is not the best running back in the state, he is going to be one of the best," Zaccheo said. "There are guys out there that are going to be faster, but I am talking about the complete package. A lot of people who see him are telling me he reminds them of (Indianapolis Colts) Edgerrin James. In my mind, he is the complete package."

Collins is the son of former New England Patriots running back Tony Collins. Zaccheo has asked the elder Collins to coach the Pace running backs, including his son, in the fall.

While Zaccheo doesn't know of any schools that Collins favors, he is very optimistic that at whatever school he winds up at, he will make his mark on the Division I-A level.

"He is a complete fullback," Zaccheo said. "He has unbelievably soft hands catching the ball out of the backfield. At this level, his sheer physical presence is menacing. For a high schooler he is 6-1, 220, that is a big kid.

"I think the sky is the limit barring any injuries. I think he can be a major force in Division I."


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