Kelby Collins may only just be entering his sophomore year in high school, but his size and length already compare to that of a college football veteran. At 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, Collins is one of the highest risers in the 2023 class, earning offers from a number of top programs in the country.
LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State are the big SEC programs to offer Collins to this point. The Tigers offered the Gardendale, Alabama native back in April after seeing Collins' film and being really impressed with what they saw.
As a freshman at Gardendale High School, Collins wasn't expecting to start as he was second string heading into the season. However, when the starting defensive end went down with an injury during the first game of the year, Collins was thrust into the lineup and made the most of his opportunity.
"After that happened I just started to roll, when I subbed in for my teammate I was able to force two fumbles in that game and just rode that momentum to a pretty good first year," Collins said. "Being a starter just became natural to me very quick and I had about 60 tackles, three sacks and three forced fumbles."
Strength and run defense are the two traits of Collins game he feels are the most polished as he heads into his sophomore season. Though Gardendale primarily ran a 3-4 in 2019, Collins thinks that the team will switch gears this offseason because there is more depth up front.
As far as what he's spent the offseason improving on, Collins said aside from his added strength and speed, he's worked on his pass rush, primarily finding more consistency in the moves he makes at the line of scrimmage.
"I think my explosion off the ball and my hand eye coordination have improved dramatically from last year," Collins said. "I've worked on my technique a lot this offseason and have watched a lot of my idols and try to study what they do best and add it to my game."
A few of the NFL guys he likes to study are Von Miller, Joey and Nick Bosa and Chase Young. Collins really just likes how relentless and aggressive each and every one of those players are at attacking the ball.
What all of those players have in common is their ability to get to the backfield, which is an area that Collins really wants to show to college coaches on his film this season.
"Me and my dad were talking about how with me and my size, I should be getting back there for like three sacks a game so that's a goal of mine I have for this season," Collins said. "I'm mostly on the outside so I need to be able to get to the quarterback."
Collins grew up in family full of Alabama fans but he always knew LSU had the opportunity to beat the Crimson Tide every time the teams suited up. To see the Tigers end that eight-year drought and follow it up with a national championship win in 2019 left an impression on Collins.
"I've talked with LSU about trying to get down there for a visit and just meet the coaches and get to know them a little bit," Collins said. "I really want to see the campus and catch some games as soon as possible. My impression of LSU just based off of the conversations I've had is that everybody is pretty chill and they look like they love what they do."