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Family Ties Link WVU Football Target Raleigh Collins to Mountain State

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Scholarship offers have been rolling in for Philadelphia defensive back Raleigh Collins in recent weeks, but one in particular has his parents perhaps a little more excited than the others.

Collins said mother and father are both from West Virginia — his mother from West Hamlin in Lincoln County and his father from Montgomery along the Kanawha and Fayette county lines — so when he picked up an offer from WVU it set off a celebration at his house.

“They were all jumping up and down,” Collins said in a phone interview with WV Sports Now. “They called my grandparents. It was fun.”

The Collins’, of course, did not stay in the Mountain State and eventually left for Delaware, where Raleigh bloomed into a standout football player before making the move this offseason to Philadelphia Catholic school Neumann Goretti. Collins, a member of the Class of 2022, was somewhat off the recruiting radar until recently. Now, however, the 6-foot-3, 185 pound defensive back in firmly on that radar.

Penn State was the first to offer Collins in late May and since he has received offers from Oregon, Mississippi, Kansas, Pitt, Cincinnati, Connecticut and Bowling Green in addition to his offer from the Mountaineers.

“It has definitely been crazy the last couple of weeks because I went from not getting looks to getting offers from top schools,” Collins said. “It has been a lot of fun, but crazy.

“I was very excited [when Penn State made the first offer]. Ole Miss offered two days after, then Oregon rolled in. I thought, ‘I’ve really got to get on the ball.'”

Collins has stood out as a safety so far in his high school career but has the build to play down in the box as sort of a hybrid linebacker at the next level. In fact, Collins said some coaches have approached him about just that.

“I definitely could see myself playing that position [in college],” Collins said. “Some coaches have actually told me that that’s what they’re going to use me as — a hybrid linebacker, safety.

“I love tackling and hitting. That’s my favorite part of football. I feel like I can just release my anger.”

As for any favorites in his recruitment, Collins said it is much too early to tell but did note that he is looking for a school that meets certain criteria.

“I’d love to go to a school the produces great defensive backs and has a very strong defense,” Collins said. “I’m also looking for a school that has strong academics since that’s really the main part of college.”

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Tom has spent the last decade as a sports journalist based in West Virginia, most recently as the WVU beat writer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and with previous stops at the Charleston Daily Mail, the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and the Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky. He was born and raised in Cross Lanes, West Virginia -- where he currently resides -- and is a 2010 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University.

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