Former Occidental College quarterback Andy Collins, a three-time Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference offensive player of the year, has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 27.
Collins died Tuesday at Imperial Point Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., according to the Broward County medical examiner's office. The cause of death is pending an investigation, although Collins reportedly had been working out on a treadmill just before his death.
Ten days earlier, he had married Brooke Olzendam, a college football reporter for CBS.
A transfer from the University of Oregon, Collins played at Occidental in Los Angeles from 2004 to 2006 and had an immediate effect. In fact, the Tigers never lost a regular-season game in which he started, going 27-0 over that span.
After his senior season, Collins represented the United States in the Aztec Bowl, an annual all-star game against the best players in Mexico. He threw for a touchdown, caught another and was named the game's most valuable player.
"He was spectacular," said Occidental Coach Dale Widolff. "He was clearly the best player to play for us in the 30 years I've been here. No one was even close."
Collins, who was born Oct. 20, 1983, in Zillah, Wash., had a brief tryout with the New York Giants, and later played in the Arena Football League, including stints with the Los Angeles Avengers and Colorado Crush.
Last season, he started for the Tri-Cities Fever of the Indoor Football League until his season was cut short by a shoulder injury.
Widolff said Collins had "incredible integrity" and a work ethic that set him apart.
"He was the kind of guy," Widolff said, "that when you walked into a weight room, a locker room, a meeting room, you immediately knew who the best player in there was."
Besides his wife, Collins is survived by his parents, two brothers, a sister and his grandparents.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times