Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
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It was on an August afternoon almost five years ago that I first met and talked to Austin Collie. From that day to the current day, I've enjoyed my association with Austin and the Collie family--at one point "hiring" Austin's brother Zac as my intern at KSL during the 2006 BYU Football season (at which time Austin was still serving his two-year LDS mission).
The Collie brothers made their name in different ways at BYU. Zac was a hard-working, talented, yet "under-the-radar" receiver who became a major contributor as a Cougar--eventually turning his talents and tenacity into a free agency tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles; Austin was a superstar from the word "go"--spurning other high-profile offers to come to Provo and simply set every notable receiving BYU receiving record, in only three seasons. After declaring for the NFL Draft, Collie was selected in the fourth round by the Indianapolis Colts.
I recently approached Austin with the idea of submitting some thoughts, "in his own words," that would help Cougar fans keep tabs on his pro career. Austin has graciously agreed to do this, and with any luck, it won't be the last time we are reading his words in this forum.
So, without further ado, the first edition of "Catching up with Collie," on Cougar Tracks. Enjoy!
"Over the past six months I have been pushed to the limit not only physically but also mentally. From the day I decided to take this next step in my career and play in the NFL to the last day of OTAs (organized team activities) my mind and body have been stretched to great lengths.
After I made the decision to come out early I headed straight to Athletes Performance Institute in Los Angeles, CA to begin training for the NFL combine. Once there, I realized that there was a lot more to football than just playing the game. I was taught the correct way to take care of my body and maintain a level of conditioning that would help me maximize my potential.
The toughest part of this entire process before the draft was not knowing what the future held. I would hear different things every day. Some said I was a shoe-in for the second or third round. Others said that there was no way I was going higher than the fifth. It was a challenge ignoring the opinions of the media and other outsiders.
When the combine came along I had felt more prepared than I had been for any game or life experience. However, I was also more nervous than I had ever been. For the entire four days I was there my roommate could not stop waking me up with his loud sleeping and constant runs to the bathroom to blow his nose. He had been sick with the flu throughout the combine so I tried to understand. Nonetheless I was only averaging three hours of sleep each night. When I left Indy, I was extremely disappointed because I felt I should have done a lot better given the amount of preparation that went into the combine.
Thankfully, I was given another shot to prove myself at BYU's pro-day. This time I felt like I proved that I was ready for an opportunity in the NFL. As soon as the pro-day was over I felt as if I had unloaded a ton of bricks off my back. It was music to my ears when Bryan Kehl made the comment that I would never have to run another 40-yard-dash again.
Draft day was a day I will never forget because it couldn't have gone better for me. When Coach Jim Caldwell and Mr. Bill Polian called me up and told me I was going to be a Colt, it was a realization of a lifelong dream. I have had the opportunity to participate in two mini-camps so far and OTAs in Indianapolis and there is not a day that goes by that my mind is not blown when I see my helmet next to guys like Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, and all of the other Colts.
So far it has been an experience of a lifetime. Learning the playbook has been a bit of challenge and will continue to be, according to most of the veterans. Being able to work with Peyton Manning and pick his brain a little bit has been an ultimate blessing and will continue to be throughout the season and hopefully the next few years. The staff is unbelievably generous and has made it easy for me and my wife to transition from college to the pros. The next thing we have is training camp. Over the next couple of weeks I will continue to study the playbook and work on my technique, so that hopefully I will get a chance to contribute this year."