Monday, January 12, 2009

Austin, we barely knew thee

If there's one thing this blog isn't, it's timely. I don't report the news as it happens, but rather when I've had a day or two to think about it.

So here's what I'm thinking about Austin Collie's decision to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft:

"Man, I'm going to miss that sucker."

Collie has been my very favorite BYU player for the past two years. Unfortunately I didn't get to see him play in 2004, but 2007 and 2008 have been a delight. I remember catching my first glimpse of the Collinator during an open practice prior to the 2007 season. I was instantly impressed; Collie had the indescribable look of an athlete. He stood out.

And he proved he was a special player on the field.

Collie has broken every meaningful receiving record at BYU in his three seasons. Yards, touchdowns, receptions, you name it--they all have one name at the top of the list: Austin Collie.

He ran away from everyone who tried to defend him. He made some of the best corners in the nation look like they were running in black strap molasses.

It is my contention that Austin Collie is the best athlete to don BYU blue. In my eyes Collie was better than Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Ty Detmer, Curtis Brown, Jonny Harline--the whole list of legends. Even Paul Shoemaker. If I was calling the shots I would have put the ball in Collie's hands on every play, offense and defense.

I'm sad I won't get to see Austin play at BYU anymore. I was kind of hoping he, Max Hall and Dennis Pitta would make an Ohio-State-esque pact to stick around for their senior years together. You know, to make one final run at the BCS together.

It would have been nice. But alas, 'twill not come to pass.

And quite frankly, I don't think AC is making the best decision here. This is a deep class for receivers in the NFL draft (only deeper with the recent announcement by Jeremy Maclin that he will enter the draft, and the inevitable announcement of Michael Crabtree to do the same). Where does Austin fit in that mix?

I predict the earliest Collie could possibly be drafted is the fifth round. I know I've just been singing his praises, but he is not helped by his lack of exposure and the fact that this is a huge WR class, as I mentioned before.

But then again he could really shine at the combine and improve his stock significantly. I just don't know if I would have made the same decision.

The good news for Austin is he's the kind of player that will see the field eventually. He'll be a steal for whichever team that drafts him, and he'll be a solid receiver and a good example of a BYU athlete in the pros.

I'm sad, but don't let my sour grapes be confused for bitterness. I love the A-man and I hope he becomes the NFL equivalent of the stellar receiver we knew in college.

All the best, Austin. It's been a pleasure.

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