Milan Collins grew up in Louisiana dreaming of one day playing football for LSU. But when Hurricane Katrina hit his New Orleans home, plans for the future were abruptly changed.
Collins, then a fifth-grader, and his family moved to Maryland after the storm hit so his father could continue working a government job. When the Collins family settled outside D.C., Milan soon found a new rooting interest.
“When I moved up to Maryland, I kind of saw that LSU would be a stretch of the imagination,” Collins said. “I just tried and worked as hard and as best I could. … With Maryland, I watched them on TV. When I came to Maryland, I thought it would be nice to go to school there if they offered me, but then it was just a dream.”
Dream became reality for Collins on Tuesday when he committed to the Terps. The 6-foot-2 ½, 200-pound quarterback and defensive back from Bishop McNamara selected Maryland over offers from North Carolina State, Hawaii, Rutgers and West Virginia.
“It feels like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I can relax and have fun my senior year of high school,” Collins said. “Over the weekend, I spent time at the University of Maryland visiting, getting to learn [about] the coaching styles and learn about the academics. After seeing the kinesiology program, I was sold on Maryland.”
Bryce Bevill, who also coached former Terps cornerback Cameron Chism at Bishop McNamara, called Collins a “strong-armed, talented” quarterback who will also play defense during his senior year. In the two years he has coached Collins, Bevill has been impressed by the future Terp for a variety of reasons.
“He brings a lot of intangibles and leadership qualities,” Bevill said. “[He’s] just an athletic, sideline-to-sideline guy. He’s a strong guy, someone who can play corner and also pop into the box and be a physical presence and someone who brings a lot of maturity.
“[Maryland likes] his athleticism. You’re talking about a kid who is physically impressive, a kid who runs very well and can play corner or safety for them. If they get in a crunch, they can get some Wildcat snaps from him also.”
Collins said he’s looking forward to being the leader of the defense just as he has been for the Mustangs’ offense. The Terps coaching staff told Collins that he can be “like an Ed Reed type of guy” in their 3-4 defensive alignment.
“I’ll be playing freestyle, defending the deep pass, being that center fielder and making plays on the ball,” Collins said. “Talking to Coach [Mike] Locksley and Coach [Randy] Edsall, they were excited for me and excited to fill an obvious void in the recruiting process. They needed a safety, so they got one.”
Maryland’s education – and its kinesiology program in particular – was a major selling point for Collins. He likes the idea of having “a great networking system in place” in the D.C. area after earning a Maryland degree.
Collins is also happy to stay close to his parents and two younger siblings, remaining in an area he has grown to love and playing for a program he has come to admire.
“Maryland fans can expect me to play hard and work hard to do everything I’m supposed to do on and off the field,” Collins said. “I’m going to do my best to win the ACC championship. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing. That’s what this whole 2013 class is looking forward to.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times