Skip to main content

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In SEC football, the game is oftentimes won or lost in the trenches. Alabama has found success throughout Nick Saban's tenure thanks in part to a tradition of elite play from extremely talented, physical defensive linemen. 

Kelby Collins, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive lineman from Gardendale High, is impressed by that tradition following his visit to the Capstone this weekend. 

"I think it means a lot for me as far as my position. They (Alabama) have become high on my list because they produce so many good d-linemen," Collins told BamaCentral. "It doesn't feel like this is going to be it for Alabama, so that's great to see for the program and great for me to hear." 

Collins received an offer from the Crimson Tide back in April of 2021 and he has been able to get to know the Alabama coaching staff well since then. That is especially true with Collins's primary recruiter, Alabama defensive line coach Freddie Roach. 

"I think I have a great relationship with all the coaches. Every time I go up there, everybody always stops and talks to me," Collins said. “I have a good relationship with coach Roach. We talk a lot, he talks to my dad a lot. It’s probably one of the top relationships I have out of all the schools.”

Alabama's defensive line has featured freshman starters throughout the past two seasons in Will Anderson Jr. and Dallas Turner, who have made a name for themselves nationally with their play for the Crimson Tide. For Collins, the work of those two Alabama standouts is something he wants to imitate. 

Scroll to Continue

Read More

“The mindset to just come in and work hard because, you know, Dallas wasn’t always a starter. He came in third-string, worked hard, and proved why he should be first string. So, that’s just my mindset, work hard and prove that you should be on the field," Collins said. 

Collins will provide a size and athleticism advantage to whatever college defense he chooses to play in. He believes the versatility of his game gives him an edge on his competition, and being able to play anywhere across the defensive line gives Collins a strong chance to be an immediate contributor in college. 

As one of the top defensive linemen in the state, Collins has been able to visit Alabama multiple times so far in his recruitment. This weekend, Collins, alongside the rest of the recruits visiting, was able to see the full amenities available for Alabama players.

“The nutrition, the recovery part of it. That was a really big factor," Collins said. "I like the campus a lot." 

Along with Alabama, Collins said he is hearing a lot from the likes of Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oregon. Collins released his top eight back in October, though he is not limiting himself to that list. 

Heading into his final season with Gardendale High, Collins wants to add to the legacy he has already built for the Rockets. 

“Just want to be better than I was last year. Perfect my craft, get better at everything I was slacking on last year, and just go big," Collins said.