FAYETTEVILLE — Former Arkansas running back Alex Collins was outstanding in 2015 which was Dan Enos’ first season with the Razorbacks.
Collins was killed in a motorcycle-SUV crash Sunday night in Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) just 13 days short of his 29th birthday. Enos was the offensive coordinator in 2015 when Collins rushed 271 times for 1,577 yards and 20 touchdowns. That is the third-most rushing yards in a season by a Hog and No. 1 rushing touchdowns. Also that is the fourth-most carries in a season. Following Thursday’s practice, Enos talked about the impact of Collins on the 2015 team and his career.
“Sad, sad news,” Enos said. “Alex was a great player, obviously. He was just a wonderful person. Great character. Smile on his face. Practiced really hard. Was a great teammate. His teammates loved him. He came to work every day and was super competitive. That’s what I loved about him. The bigger the moment the year I was here with him the better he played. Rushed for over 1,600 yards that year and just did a tremendous job. Not just as a player but as a person. What a great young man. Was fun to be around and coach. It’s just heartbreaking. He had so much life left to live. Just a wonderful, beautiful person. Then you read all the things his teammates say about him. Not just here but in the National Football League as well. Obviously, prayers to his family. Just a wonderful human being.”
Collins was drafted in the fifth round in 2016 by the Seattle Seahawks. He also played with the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL and Memphis Showboats of the USFL. Enos even draw a comparison of Collins and (quarterback) Brandon Allen in 2015 to KJ Jefferson and Raheim “Rocket” Sanders this season.
“Very similar,” Enos said. “I think KJ is a great player. He’s obviously a big athlete that can really run, but he’s got really good arm talent. He’s a really good passer. When I say that I mean he can pass the ball. He’s not a thrower. He’s got great touch. He can change the trajectory of the ball. I’ve been very impressed with his ability to anticipate and throw to guys before they’re open and make them open. His ball placement has been really good this camp. You can tell he’s really worked hard in the offseason. I think KJ has the ability to be as good as anybody I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached some good ones. Same thing with Rocket. You would think he’s a freshman that just got here. When I say that, his attitude, his demeanor and the way he practices. He does not practice like a guy that rushed for 1,500 yards last year and has all these accolades. He’s rushes like a guy that is hungry and has something to prove.
“A coach told me a long time ago that when your best players are your hardest workers it sets the tone for your entire team. We certainly have that with KJ and Rocket and Beaux (Limmer) and a lot of these guys who work extremely hard. These two guys are as talented as anyone I’ve very been around. They’re fun to coach because they want to be coached and they practice very hard.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields on Friday.