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Collie hopes to catch team's eye

Oak Ridge graduate looking forward to pro career
By: Matt Long
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He doesn’t care which round he’s picked or by which team, all 2004 Oak Ridge High graduate Austin Collie wants is an opportunity. Collie, 23, will likely get that opportunity this weekend when he’s chosen in the 2009 NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 200-pound wide receiver and kick returner had a stellar three-year career at Brigham Young University, finishing as the school’s leader in catches (215), yards (3,255) and touchdowns (30), as well as 100-yard receiving games (17). His 30 career touchdown receptions are also a Mountain West Conference record. Just last season as a junior, Collie caught 106 balls for 1,538 yards and 15 touchdowns, all school records. He also had at least 100 yards receiving in 11 games, which is also a school record. When he was deciding on whether to turn pro after his junior year, he knew he had the statistics that warranted his choice, but there was more to it than that. “When you get down to it, it’s what’s best for my wife and I,” Collie said. “It’s always been a childhood dream of mine (to be a professional football player) and I’ve been working toward that and dedicated myself to that.” After deciding to go pro in January, Collie dedicated himself to working out and being in his best shape for the NFL combine and his pro day. Collie said the combine, where athletes are run through several athletic drills including the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump and a variety of agility drills, as well as position-specific exercises, went well. “It was a neat, intense experience,” Collie said. “I didn’t do as well as I could have in some of the drills, but it was a good learning experience. The teams learned what I can do and who I am.” After the combine in February, Collie had his pro day at Brigham Young in March and performed again in front of 15 NFL personnel. “It’s similar to the combine and just gives you a second shot and gives the scouts another opportunity to see you,” Collie said. “I ran a little faster, although that’s not an area I need to improve on. I’m not a blazer, but I can run with the big guys at the next level. “I had a better pro agility time and my drill work was better.” Collie said several teams have talked to him and shown interest in him over the last few weeks, including the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans. “Whatever happens, happens,” Collie said. “I’m just looking for a shot to play. I see myself as a guy who is reliable and when a first down catch or a big play is needed, I’m that type of player. I’m a receiver who knows how to run routes and catch the ball. I’m consistent and reliable and I think I’ve proved that the last three years.” Collie’s definitely got the pedigree to be a professional football player. His dad, Scott, played at BYU from 1979 to 1982, was a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers for a short time and played four years with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League. “I’m very excited for him, but I’m also guarded because there are so many things that play into this process that he has no control over,” Scott said. “Austin’s got a really good attitude about it. As his dad, I believe he should be one of the first guys taken. “It all comes down to making a team. Just because you get drafted doesn’t mean you can’t get cut. I believe that Austin is good enough and versatile enough to make a team.” Collie’s older brother, Zac, also attended BYU and was signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles two years ago. He’s helped his younger brother through the last few months. “I told him not to worry about who picks him or when he goes,” Zac said. “It’s not important what takes place; he still has to make a team and it’s all about working toward that”