Tyrone Collins, the Herald’s All-Area Defensive Player of the Year in 2016, could miss his entire senior season after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament last month. The Braden River defensive back, who has been Manatee County’s most heavily recruited player in the Class of 2018, tore the ACL away from any organized football during a casual game following a team workout at Braden River High School on Feb. 24.
Collins is set for surgery to repair the knee March 13. An optimistic timeline could put Collins on track to return for the very end of the regular season or a potential playoff run, but Collins admitted he’s unsure if any sort of a return to the Pirates is in play.
“I don’t know if I’m going to play my senior year yet,” Collins said Monday.
ACL tears have been something of a plague at Braden River during the past year and a half. Running back Raymond Thomas, a two-time All-Area selection, suffered a torn ACL late during the regular season of his junior year, keeping him from playing in the 2015 postseason. Wide receiver and quarterback Juwaan Jenkins missed his entire senior year because of a torn ACL during a 7-on-7 game. Defensive lineman Zach Brown fought through a pair of ACL tears to officially commit to Division III St. Norbert College in Wisconsin on National Signing Day last month.
The timing of Collins’ injury is particularly unfortunate as coaches from 15 schools who have offered the junior may have seen the last of Collins before his college career begins. Collins has already been offered by Missouri, Kentucky, Boston College, Michigan, Iowa State, South Florida, Central Florida and Florida Atlantic, among others. Middle Tennessee State, Western Michigan and Southern Mississippi had all offered Collins during the last month.
Even so, Collins is remaining optimistic with a support network offering constant words of encouragement and college coaches reaching out to reassure him of his standing.
“Honestly, just the people around me texting me and telling me to stay positive and don’t let this get down to you. Colleges texting me saying they know how I can play and stuff,” Collins said. “It doesn’t really bother me. I need to just keep working hard.”