You might know of Alex Collins because he is a big time college football recruit, or because his mother supposedly hid a letter from one school, in the hopes that Alex might play football for another big time D1 program. While all that makes for a splashy headline, it doesn’t focus on what is truly important: Alex Collins is the BEST Lacrosse Player that will never come to be…
Sure, he’s still as raw as one can get, but his speed, creativity and overall athleticism and power alone would all have given Collins a place on a D1 lacrosse roster somewhere. The move at the 1:17 mark pretty much says it all:
At the :45 second mark he makes two guys fall over just by running near them. At the 2:25 mark I think he kills a kid just by taking a face off. The goal at the 3:09 mark shows off an uncanny burst off speed and his ability to score.
Collins played his high school lacrosse for South Plantation, in Florida, just outside of Miami, and only picked the sport up in his Senior year. For more, check out this article in the Sun Sentinel.
Now, if you’re thinking that I’m crazy, I can actually call out an example of a football player picking up lacrosse later in life, and becoming a really good player.
At Wesleyan, I saw it happen.
Jeff McLaren transferred to Wesleyan after a year at Rhode Island, where he played D1AA football. McLaren started right away at Wesleyan and was a star for our gridiron team, but when the Spring started rolling around he found out there was no spring football due to NESCAC rules. So he asked if he could try out for lacrosse. Our coach, John Raba, was a football coach as well, and he asked me to help Jeff learn some basics. I showed him how to play wall ball, we played a little catch, and I strung up a stick for Jeff.
Then he took it and ran with it. In the most literal was possible.
He never asked me to string him another stick. Why? He taught himself how to string. He never asked me to play wall ball with him again. He did it on his own, like I did. He watched tons of film, he worked out like a maniac, and he played wall ball until he had blisters on his blisters. Jeff McLaren put in the work, and even though he was a sophomore in college who had never picked up a stick three months ago, he was about to play NCAA lacrosse.
Jeff went on to start for Wesleyan, while being named all-conference in football, and maintaining a GPA my parents only wished I could hit. He would keep playing lacrosse after graduating for the Vermont Voyageurs, America’s best box lacrosse franchise. And he became a doctor. That too.
So if a former D1AA football player/academic savant can pick up lacrosse as a sophomore in college and become a D3 stud, I’m pretty sure a professional football player could have made a D1 roster, and eventually become a seriously amazing player. Would it require a TON of work? Absolutely. But Alex Collins has already shown that he is a guy who puts in the work.
I also want to be clear it doesn’t work the other way around. I was a good college lacrosse player, and my senior year I played football, having never played before. I tried, I really did. But I was awful. Just AWFUL.
NOW Imagine if Alex Collins had focused on lacrosse? He might have been the best. He definitely coulda been a contender! Thanks to Tyler Steinhardt with Uganda Lacrosse for the tip!