Photo via Tony Venegas, TexasHSFootball.com

 

A smattering of reporters lingered around the podium interviewing Aviante Collins – a relatively small gathering considering the crowds surrounding other players in the conference room. Very few asked the former TCU standout anything – a slight that will likely change considering Collins NFL Combine showing, putting up 34 reps on the bench press (second best) and running a stunning 4.81 in the 40-yard dash. The mark is the third highest by a lineman and highest since 2003; he only trails Terron Armstead and Lane Johnson on the all-time list. Collins credits his speed as a major asset, separating him from competitors at his position.

“One thing I have that not a lot of people have is footspeed,” Collins said. “I’m very, very fast playing tackle or interior. I come from a track background… my families fast. I use my quickness to give an edge on certain things that people might have the edge on me. If you’re a lot stronger than me, I’ll use my quickness to get leverage on you.”

A graduate of Willowridge High, Collins was easily the biggest person on the field, finishing his career as a three year letterman, a three-star recruit and a track and field stud. Recruited by the Horned Frogs, he made 23 starts with coach Gary Patterson’s unit, including highlight ‘14 and ‘15 seasons where TCU only lost a combined three games. Last season was a letdown for the Dallas team originally ranked in the top-15 of preseason AP Polls.

“We had a really young team and they were really immature as far as what it took to win,” Collins said. “I tried to lead by example doing what I had to do. I would yell at them, but they would shove it off and not pay attention because they didn’t buy any of it they didn’t buy in with what it took to win. It’s something they are growing into and becoming more mature. That’s what happens when you have a young team.”

Despite a lack of effort by teammates around him, Collins motivated himself and posted a season that positively reflected his individual abilities, including his versatility at every position at the offensive line besides center.

Weight loss may be the only disadvantage for Collins; listed at 305 lbs. on his player profile. He came to Indianapolis weighing 295 pounds — five pounds short of his goal.

“I was 300 lbs. before I got here, but this process is very hard. Trying to maintain eating has been very hard. Because you don’t want to miss interviews by eating a meal. I kind of made that mistake not bringing protein bars or snacks to keep me hydrated. Flying makes you dehydrated… but those are just excuses.”

“For me personally, my weight fluctuates and I just need to do a better job keeping my weight.”

 

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