Another shot for Laurier linebacker Jesse Collins

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Photo by Serena Gill
Photo by Serena Gill

Jesse Collins is a name that has escaped mention for some time in the Wilfrid Laurier University football atmosphere. The linebacker’s last appearance on the Golden Hawk football field was 2011, where following six regular season games his campaign was cut short by a series of injuries.

The 2010 season saw Collins play only three games before the injuries started. After his sixth game against the Guelph Gryphons, Collins injured his knee, which led to more injuries such as a torn ACL, a torn MCL and a torn meniscus.

Bad turned to worse when the complications started — after his surgeries, Collins ruptured his hamstring, which would send him back to the disabled list. s Through the peril of several injuries, his recovery has brought him back to Laurier for what is to be his first full season with the Hawks in a leadership role amongst his peers.

“I was really excited to come back, I was down in the States last year. So I was away from football but still coaching over there.” Collins explained. “When I returned I was really excited to get back on the field and have some fun especially being away from the game for so long.”

Collins went through four surgeries in two years. Often this leaves players slower, but despite the surgeries Collins believes that he still has value.

He learned a lot of technical components in the States that makes up for losing speed.

Collins is also making the change from outside linebacker to inside linebacker this year. This change brings on a whole new set of responsibilities for a defender. A seamless change would be extremely challenging to say the least but Collins believes he is poised for the opportunity.

“I was always an outside guy, when I came in I was faster and physical and a little bit smaller.”

Since Collins’ arrival in 2010 he has witnessed changes and turnovers in the players, coaches and even the culture as a whole.

According to Collins, as much as he loved former head coach Gary Jeffries as a coach, the new environment head coach Michael Faulds brought to the team is a lot more competitive.

“I really enjoy it,” Collins said. “Faulds has brought in a good atmosphere and it’s been fun to have that competitive nature around so the guys are flying around during practice and they want to show off a little bit. It makes it a lot of fun.”

With his age and experience, Collins wants to be a leader on the field and with first-hand experience of balancing football with university life, he believes he can mentor the younger players on the team.

“I just want to be there for the guys and help them in as many ways as possible. We put in a new mentor group type thing this year, where some of the older guys are helping mentor the guys so that they can balance school, football and social life,” Collins said.

“At the same time I still want to compete and I still want to work to help the team win in any way I possibly can.”

But really, Collins just wants to help Laurier where he can — whether that’s on the gridiron, in the classroom or in life situations.

“Really the only goal I came back with was to help the team win in any manner I could. So that would be acting as a leader or helping the younger guys. I’m willing to do that or whatever it may be. My goal this season is to help the team get as many wins as possible,” Collins explained.


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