Counting on Collins
Versatile senior a key for Panthers
Corbin Collins is hoping his versatility as an offensive lineman will give him a chance to play at the next level. Collins — 6-foot-2, 275-pound senior for Siloam Springs — is a valuable hand for the Panthers up front. He’s able to play nearly every position on the offensive line and also helps the Panthers on the defensive line.
But it’s on offense where Collins — a three-year starter — helps Siloam Springs the most.
“Our philosophy is all of our offensive linemen should be able to play any position on the offensive line,” said head coach Brandon Craig. “They should understand the concepts and the schemes well enough to be able to do that.”
Collins’ versatility was on display this past Friday in the Panthers’ 42-7 loss to Harrison.
With Goblins nose guard Hayden Vanderpool (6-3, 290) wreaking havoc on the line of scrimmage, the Panthers moved Collins from his starting left tackle position to center and shifting starting center Dillon Conn over to right guard.
“(Vanderpool) was a handful, and Corbin neutralized him,” Craig said. “(Vanderpool) didn’t have near the game he had the past few weeks. It’s just one of those things (where) we had to do something to try and neutralize the nose guard.”
The experience was an interesting one for Collins, who has mostly played tackle in varsity games, right tackle as a sophomore and left tackle as a junior and the beginning of his senior year.
“That was a big change,” Collins said. “I have a whole lot of respect for Dillon Conn because I didn’t know how hard that position actually was.”
Collins is expected to move back to left tackle this week as Siloam Springs (1-1) plays at Van Buren (1-1) on Friday. But his experience at center gives the Panthers and Collins options down the road.
“Playing center the other night, that ups his stock,” Craig said. “(College coaches) see that he can snap and get off the ball and do things. That gives him an advantage.”
Collins wants to play college football and has been in contact with Central Arkansas, Arkansas Tech and Arkansas State so far. He would most likely play a guard position or center at the next level, his coach said.
“Yeah, he’s a prospect for sure,” Craig said. “It just kind of comes down to laying down some senior film and let’s get that out there midseason and see what kind of feedback we get.”
Collins has always been a big body that his teams lean on.
Coming up through junior high ranks, it was evident that Collins would be a player the Panthers would count on up front.
“He was a kid we knew we would put the ball behind,” said Jonathan Johnson, offensive line and ninthgrade head coach. “One way or another, the ball was going to end up behind Corbin any year he’s been involved with us.”
Collins was a 6A-West All-Conference honorable mention as a sophomore and All-Conference as a junior.
When Craig arrived in February, he was impressed with what he saw in Collins, but he thought Collins could be even better.
“Coach told me to lose a little more weight because I was a little too heavy,” Collins said. “I tried to do that and tried to get faster. That’s helped me a lot.”
Craig said Collins has lost around 12 pounds.
“I told him somewhere between 270 and 280 would be a good weight for him,” Craig said. “He stays right in that range, and it’s helped him mobility-wise as far as being able to move better and handle things faster. Because D-lines are moving so much these days, you need more agile offensive lineman. In the past you’d just line up and someone would be standing there and you’d just block them. That’s not how it is nowadays — everybody’s moving.”
Collins had a good offseason and is doing a solid job leading the Panthers’ offensive line.
“His experience and what he’s done in the offseason, as hard as he’s worked, it’s just impressed me,” Craig said. “He’s one of the kids when you come into the program and you look at and go, ‘Hey, this is a guy I can count on. He’s going to be a leader.’ Kids are going to look to him and it’s going to help us to establish things faster, and he’s done a good job with that.”
The goal has been to get Collins predominately on offense, but there are situations where he’s needed on the defensive line.
“I’m not the greatest pass rusher, but they’ll put me in third-and-short because I’m a good run stopper,” Collins said.
A highlight from last week against the Goblins was a play where Collins stuffed Harrison running back Gabe Huskey.
“He shed his blocker and destroyed the running back,” Craig said.
Collins, like many other seniors, is also a mentor, but in this case it’s to one very special Panther — his brother, sophomore running back/defensive back Cam Collins (6-0, 170).
“I try to mentor him on what to do,” Corbin Collins said. “I see him at a new position every week, it seems like. … Since he’s so skinny, I try to get him to eat a lot and put on some more weight because if he could, he could be a real monster.”
Siloam Springs senior Corbin Collins looks on during a break in the action at a recent game. Collins is a three-year starter for Siloam Springs.
Siloam Springs senior Corbin Collins is a college prospect on the offensive line and has been talking with Central Arkansas, Arkansas Tech and Arkansas State.