We are only 4 days away from seeing Oregon State football! And keeping with the number 4 let's talk some Seth Collins who has not only switched numbers (4-to-22) but has also switched positions from quarterback to wide receiver.
Beaver fans know Seth Collins. As a true freshman he captivated Beaver nations attention with his electric athleticism. He was in a battle for the starting quarterback spot and hurdled his own teammate in the Beavers’ spring game. He later locked down the starting QB job with this magnificent hurdle in the season opener.
He finished the 2015 season as the team’s leading rusher and passer; despite missing time due to injury. At times he seemed to be the only bright spot for an anemic Oregon State offense.
His daring and flashy style of play unfortunately left him banged up far too often. While he was an exciting presence at quarterback, his accuracy left a lot to be desired and his speed became his greatest and at times his only positive attribute. The coaching staff knew the QB position was Garretson’s once he became eligible, so Collins flirted with transferring after the season but decided to return to Oregon State and has been learning his new position.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I love watching Collins with the ball in his hands in open space. And I was overjoyed when I heard he was coming back to Oregon State. But while he was deciding whether to transfer or not he was also missing practice time.
Despite the position switch and missed practice time it seems expectations for Seth Collins are sky high. Many are expecting him to play a central role on the Beavers offense. But, I find it hard to believe that Seth Collins will meet these lofty expectations this year.
He’s an amazing talent and has been impressive during practice. But, he is behind Jordan Villamin, Victor Bolden and Noah Togiai. Those are the guys Darell Garretson will look to first when he drops back. After those three guys Collins finds himself competing with Hunter Jarmon, Timmy Hernandez, Trevon Bradford and even Paul Lucas for targets.
Seth Collins is unique because he’ll be able to line up almost anywhere on the field. And I expect him to get a few rushing attempts, but Ryan Nall will get the lions share of carries and Tim Cook, Artavis Pierce and Paul Lucas will all get some touches as well. Collins might even get the opportunity to line up at quarterback for a few trick plays, but he will not touch the ball each snap like last year. There will be series or quarters or halves where he doesn't get the football at all.
Just last year, another dynamic athlete at the D-I level made the switch from quarterback to wide receiver. His name was Braxton Miller; the former Ohio State quarterback switched to wide receiver after having surgery on his throwing shoulder. That left J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones to battle it out at QB for the defending champs.
Braxton Miller was every bit as explosive and dynamic as Seth Collins (if not more so). Miller finished 5th in the Heisman voting in 2012 and 9th in 2013. But Braxton Miller wasn't as dynamic in his new position as he had been in the pocket, recording just 260 rushing and 341 receiving yards for four total touchdowns during his final season at Ohio State.
Don’t get me wrong, Braxton Miller’s 2015 season started off spectacularly. Remember his spin move that was heard around the world during Ohio State’s first game?
But overall his season wasn’t amazing. Miller made difficult catches and often took direct snaps for a short rush up the field. He flashed moments of brilliance -- much like he had at quarterback. But, Ezekiel Elliott, J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones and Michael Thomas all played a bigger role offensively than Braxton Miller. I expect Seth Collins’ 2016 season to be very similar to Braxton Miller’s 2015 season in terms of impact and production.
The good news for Collins is that he is only a sophomore and has plenty of time to master the nuances of being a wide receiver. And while Braxton Miller may not have had the senior season he was hoping, the Texans still saw enough potential there to draft him with their third round pick.