Blue Valley West cornerback Mark Collins, Jr., doesn’t worry about his father’s shadow.
A lot of young people with famous parents or parent want to make their own life and career. The 5’11”, 175-pound Jaguar defensive back is on track to have a good senior season and move into college football next year.
His dad played for more than a decade as a corner back in the National Football League. He made his biggest mark with the New York Giants who drafted him in the second round of the draft out of Cal-State Fullerton. As a 5’10”, 195-pound defensive back, the senior Collins earned All Pro honors in 1989 and 1990 and was the member of two Super Bowl championship teams with the Giants. He played three years with the Kansas City Chiefs (1994-1996) and his finished his career playing once season each with the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. His son got his start in football early in life, but didn’t understand what his father had accomplished.
“I started playing flag football when I was a little kid and then just kept playing football throughout grade school,” says Mark. “I knew my dad played football but at a young age I didn’t understand the level he played at. I just wanted to play football because I really enjoyed it.” It comes as no surprise that this dad has been a big help to his son.
“He has helped me a lot,” says Mark. “He talks me through many things as far as football knowledge and understanding the game better.” This son doesn’t believe that his dad having played in the National Football League puts any additional pressure on him.
“My dad always encourages me to do my best but never puts pressure on me,” he says.
Collins plays the same position as his dad–corner back–for the Jaguars. In addition, he plays on offense is a receiver and a sometime quarterback. What is the secret to being a successful cornerback?
“Being able to chance direction quickly and having a short memory,” he says. “Having a short memory is good at that position because you can be beat for a touchdown on one play and have to come back and defend another pass on the next defensive possession. You can’t be thinking about the last play, but need to concentrate on the current play.”
Head football coach Scott Wright has been the Jaguars coach since the school opened in the fall of 2001. He says Mark is a very talented athlete.
“He has a quiet confidence about himself and is super coachable,” says Wright. “Mark is one of those rare athletes that actually sees the play way before most on the field. This allows him to be able to make plays others cannot. Mark is really enjoyable to coach.”
Collins recalls a specific team victory as the highlight of his career.
“My sophomore year during the state quarterfinals when we beat Bishop Miege at their home field was definitely the best,” he says. In addition to football, the senior plays third base in baseball. What is his goal for this school year?
“Just to focus on having a good senior year and think about college,” says Mark.