Chris Collins introduces himself to Big Blue Nation


Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops holds up the Belk Bowl trophy after the Belk Bowl football game between Kentucky and Virginia Tech on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. UK won 37-30. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Barkley Truax

Chris Collins is eager to get started in Lexington.

“Tremendously excited about the opportunity to be there at the University of Kentucky. Coach Stoops has done a phenomenal job of building the program, continuing to develop the brand,” Collins said in his introductory press conference Friday morning.

He landed in Lexington after four years of coaching experience at Georgia State where he led his team to three bowl games, catching the eye of Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops in the process. 

Before being hired, however, Collins and Stoops had their first conversations as a part of the interview process.

“Outside of [Stoops] being a legend in the game of football in terms of defensive back play, in terms of defensive play overall we really didn’t have any previous connections,” Collins said.

Collins’ interview process wasn’t as you’d have expected. The 32-year-old is a new father and his wife was in labor during the whole situation.

“She was very supportive,” Collins said about his wife. “I made sure before any of this transpired, I’ve got to check with the captain … she is tremendously excited, we have a great support system.”

Not only will family man Collins be the news defensive backs coach, replacing Steve Clinkscale, but he also dons the title of recruiting coordinator as well.

“I’m really excited about having a lot more resources to be able to grow in that [recruiting] creativity, how we’re able to reach kids and families,” Collins said. “And give them an opportunity to see what a phenomenal place we have to offer both academically and football wise.”

“The biggest thing is relationships in terms of recruiting … being transparent. Who you are is who you are,” he said.

Being young and going from Georgia State to the SEC is a rather large leap. That pressure doesn’t seem to phase the young, inexperienced coach.

“[Kentucky football] is a brand known for developing talent,” Collins said.”Having the opportunity for [recruits] to see what the can develop and grow into and having the chance to play at the highest level and continue not just on the field but off the field.” 

While the recruiting coordinator position in any SEC football program is a coveted spot, his primary role will be that of coaching Kentucky’s stellar secondary and coaching under Brad White’s defensive schemes.

“Coach White, a phenomenal football mind, Collins said. “Extremely detailed in his teaching, has a plan of attack that’s really organized, similar to what we had at Georgia State in terms of structure.”

“I’m blessed to be able to join the fight to better and elevate this defense,” he said.

Collins has much to live up to filling the role of coaching one of the premier secondaries in the country that led the SEC in fewest passing yards allowed per game (224.6) in 2020 and that has produced four NFL draft picks in the last three years (Lonnie Johson Jr., Mike Edwards, Kelvin Joseph and Brandin Echols).

He’s ready to live up to the challenge as Kentucky kicks their season off on Sept. 4 against Louisiana Monroe at Kroger Field. 

“I’m excited about doing the work,” Collins said.