The life of a walk-on

Trevor Mcnaboe

Daily Routine

The silence of a Monday morning in rural South Georgia is broken by the sounds of weights being lifted by members of the Georgia Southern football team.

Redshirt junior wide receiver Ed Collins shuffles his way into the weight room at 6:30 a.m., well before the sun has broken the Statesboro skyline.

It is the start of what will be a day that includes workouts, classes, meetings and then on top of it all: practice in preparation for in-state opponent Georgia State.

Collins finishes up his morning workout and prepares for his load of classes that, today, will include a pair of classes at 10:10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Right at noon, he will have already completed his daily classes and goes to fill up on some lunch before taking on the second half of football related activities spaced throughout the day.

After a brief intermission from academic classes, he switches over and gets ready for position meetings.

Position meetings start at 2:30 p.m. for Collins, followed by practice that can run as late as 7 p.m. on some days.

After spending over four hours on the field, it’s time for Ed to transition back to academics, as he and the rest of the athletes go to Cone Hall for study hours and to complete any homework.

While most people are preparing to go out the bars during the week, football players maintain the balance of academics, athletics and maintaining a social life.

“It’s hard, football takes up our entire day from 2-7, then eating dinner afterwards, and then going to study hall to get the required hours we need each week, so it’s hard to have fun at night.”

Getting to know Collins

Collins hails from Brookwood High School in Snellville, Ga. where in his senior season he was part of the 2010 state championship team in 5AAAAA, at the time the highest classification for Georgia.

Although Georgia Southern did not recruit him to play collegiate football, he was set on enrolling at the FCS powerhouse.

In Fall 2011, Ed made the decision to tryout as a walk-on for the football team, then under the tutelage of former head coach Jeff Monken.

“I didn’t want to be done playing football and I thought I could play at the college level. I thought I was good enough. I tried it and was given a chance.”

Collins’ decision to walk on paid off, as he was told he would be a member of Georgia Southern’s football team, to be placed on the practice squad after impressing the coaching staff during tryouts.

“I was just really happy that I was on the team. I didn’t realize at the time how much work would go into it.”

Collins comes from a background of football. His father played semi-professional football, and the topic of football in his family draws a slight laugh from him.

“I wouldn’t say that my parents pushed me into playing. They let me play whatever sports I wanted. Football was just more of my thing,” Collins said. “Yeah, my dad played football back in his day, but it was my decision.“

Football is something that Ed and the rest of his family have held dear, watching and playing it from the youth leagues all the way to high school. If you were to look on the Georgia Southern athletic website under Ed Collins’ profile, one term comes up multiple times: dedicated. Along with his dedication comes hard work.

“That’s one of the biggest compliments right there. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t work hard and improve, you aren’t going to go very far, no matter what you’re doing.”

His hard work and dedication paid off as he was selected by the coaching staff to accompany the team and be a part of the travelling squad to Las Cruces for the New Mexico State game. Upon hearing that, a phone call to the parents was in order to break the news.

“My parents were excited. They would keep telling me that my time was coming soon and to keep working, It was a great feeling.”

Every person that plays sports has a time when they cannot play anymore. Whether it’s at 18 or at 40, athletic careers will come to a close.

“I want to play football as long as I am able to, whether it’s next year or I can continue on afterwards.”

When his career ends Collins plans on continuing to be a part of sports. In particular, he is aspiring to be a sports broadcaster.