Posted: 3:58 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
By Charles Doss
Can Stephen Collier be Ohio State's answer at quarterback post-Braxton Miller?
Urban Meyer and Tom Herman searched high and low for a class of 2014 quarterback to add to the fold and found one in Georgia native Stephen Collier. The three-star prospect wasted little time, giving the staff his verbal commitment just after he received his offer and helped recruit many other prospects to join him in Columbus.
Take a trip down memory lane and find out what kind of early impact he could have on the Buckeyes, as we bring you "Bucks to the Future", the Stephen Collier story.
247 Composite: 22nd rated dual threat quarterback, 75th ranked player from Georgia and 846th overall prospect in the 2014 class.
High School: Lee County High School, Leesburg, Georgia
After an impressive junior campaign at Lee County High, where he accounted for 1,672 yards of total offense and 34 touchdowns, programs such as Boston College, Cincinnati, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State and Wake Forest would all send out scholarship offers hoping they could get the inside track on the then under the radar signal caller.
In April of last year, Collier would head to the Nike Football Training Camp in Atlanta with plans to show that he deserved to be mention among the top quarterback prospects in the nation. Showing great accuracy and arm strength all weekend, Stephen was named MVP of the quarterbacks, winning the award over many then higher ranked recruits. His effort in part earned him a spot as one of the 18 quarterbacks to participate in the Elite 11 and The Opening 2013 camps, held at the Nike headquarters in Oregon.
Before heading out west to Beaverton in late June, Stephen found his Ohio State recruitment really starting to take off. He attended camp at OSU, catching the eye of many of the Buckeye coaches. "The camp was awesome. I loved learning some new things and getting to play with some incredible talent." Collier told Land-Grant Holy Land soon after attending camp. "I spoke with most of the offensive staff and Coach Meyer. Campus was awesome, top tier as expected. If Ohio State offered, I would seriously consider going there. It's a great place with great players and a great coaching staff."
Just a few weeks later the staff offered the Peach State stud a scholarship to join the program. Stephen jumped at the chance to suit up in the scarlet and gray, giving Urban Meyer and company his verbal commitment almost as soon as the words left their mouth:
Days later, Collier would get the chance to mingle with his future teammate and fellow Dream '14 commits Damon Webb, Dante Booker Jr., Parris Campbell, Kyle Berger, Jalyn Holmes, Dylan Thompson, Kyle Trout and others at The Opening. Like many of the OSU commits, Collier had a pretty decent week in Oregon, making smart decisions with the ball but came up a little short when it came to making the final Elite 11 2013 list.
As a senior for Lee County, Stephen was named Southwest Player of the Year after completing 146 of his 304 passing attempts for 2,291 yards and 24 touchdowns while also showing he could get it done on the ground, rushing for 1,021 yards, touching pay-dirt 20 more times. The Trojans finished the season 10-2 overall and won the 1-AAAAA championship but watched their state title dreams come to an end after a 41-35 loss to Mundy's Hill in the second round of the playoffs.
After attending the Buckeyes' game against Wisconsin last season, Collier told Land-Grant Holy Land that "The atmosphere in The Shoe was unlike any that I'd ever been a part of. Not only was the game phenomenal, but the fans were also. The chants gave me chills and I can't wait to be a part of something like that."
Fast forward a few months, and now Collier is officially a part of "something like that", as it was announced In November that he would be one of seven class of 2014 commits to enroll early. Stephen enrolled as a full-time student at Ohio State in January and is eligible to go through conditioning and spring practice, giving him a whole slew of time to learn not just the Buckeyes playbook, but what is expected out of a student athlete before next fall.
With Buckeye quarterbacks Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett returning, Collier will probably find himself behind the eight ball for early playing time next season. A bit raw with his overall mechanics, and with upperclassmen in front of him, a redshirt year would give Collier time to work with the staff and develop under Heisman hopeful, Miller, putting him one step closer to battling for the starting job in 2015.
A hard worker and a very smart kid who graduated high school with over a 4.0 grade point average, Collier has a history of proving doubters wrong by working his tail off. In the world of college football, you never know what could happen from one day to the next. A strong spring and other circumstances could skyrocket Collier up the depth chart and onto the field sooner than the experts project.
The Bucks landed royalty. As a senior, Stephen was named Lee County High's homecoming king.