True freshman safety Raleigh Collins will make his first career start on Saturday, West Virginia Head Coach Neal Brown said on his Thursday night radio show.
“He’s deserved that right,” said Brown, shortly after stating that Collins would get the start on Saturday against Iowa State.
Collins made his debut in Week Three against Towson, totaling sixteen snaps, with thirteen of them coming on the defensive side of the ball and the other three on special teams. He returned to action in Week Eight against Texas Tech, seeing a season-high 22 snaps in that game. Last week, versus No. 7 TCU, Collins was on the field once more, including making a momentum-swinging stop on third-and-goal to force the Horned Frogs into a field goal.
On the season, Collins has five tackles (four solo) and a tackle for loss.
Collins has been on the radar for the coaching staff since the preseason, with Head Coach Neal Brown singling him out during fall camp as one of the true freshmen that were pushing for playing time in their first year on campus. Even still, it seemed like he might stick with a four-game redshirt, but injuries to fellow Spears Davis Mallinger and Lance Dixon, have pushed Collins to the forefront.
Collins committed to the Mountaineers over dozens of other offers in the Class of 2022. He was originally listed as a cornerback, but the WVU coaching staff invited him back up to work out as a Will linebacker. He passed with flying colors, got an offer, and committed not long after. He’s bounced between a Will and a Spear since arriving on campus.