Long before he was committed to Arkansas football, Charleston Collins already had a reputation as a “beast” on the gridiron. Now he has the recruiting rankings to back it up.
Known as “Charlie” by some, the consensus four-star defensive end is considered the top prospect in the Natural State for 2024 by Rivals and On3, while 247Sports tabbed him No. 77 overall in the country.
Best of Arkansas Sports recently reached out to Collins’ defensive line coach at Little Rock Mills, Marcus Bolden, for an assessment of his star player and he didn’t disappoint.
Bolden has known Collins since he was 12 years old, coaching him in little league. Even back then, he was bigger than all of the other kids — and, for the most part, that’s still true. He now stands 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds.
What to Expect from Charleston Collins
Part of the Razorbacks’ 2024 class, Collins is expected to be a key pass rusher in new defensive coordinator Travis Williams’ aggressive system.
He has already developed a good relationship with Williams and defensive line coach Deke Adams, who was the primary voice during Collins’ recruitment. The hope is that he becomes the latest prized recruit for Adams, who previously signed eventual No. 1 overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney and first-rounder Sylvester Williams.
Sam Pittman’s teams are prided on culture and Collins seems to fit the mold.
“They’re getting a kid who’s going to work hard,” Bolden said. “A great athlete, all-around student athlete.”
Working hard has been in Collins’s DNA since he was a kid, and because of that, Bolden thinks the sky’s the limit for the young star. He even compares Collins’ quick and elusive play style to Washington Commanders edge defender Chase Young, who was an All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist at Ohio State.
“If he works the way he should work, he’s going to be a hall of famer at Arkansas and an NFL prospect,” Bolden said. “He’s only going to get bigger and better. With the speed he’s got, he’s going to be massive, and his hands will only get better.”
Because of his elite athleticism, Bolden and Collins have set a goal of 20 sacks for the upcoming season. While it may seem like a lot, it’s achievable.
“He went for 12 last season, but he played a lot of receiver so that kind of slowed him down,” Bolden said.
Collins finished his junior campaign with 124 tackles, 12 sacks and one interception, along with 11 receptions for 67 yards. Not to point out the obvious, but facing a 265-pound receiver would be an absolutely scary sight for any defensive back.
Collins as a Recruiter for Arkansas
An in-state recruit, Collins will bring a couple other highly touted recruits from Arkansas with him in 2024. His cousin, Courtney Crutchfield, committed to Arkansas on the same day as him.
“We had to lock in together,” Crutchfield told FOX16. “We’re both from Pine Bluff, Ark., and we wanted to stay home. It’s a good thing we’re rocking out together.”
Crutchfield is a four-star receiver who is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in Arkansas, according to 247Sports, right above Collins at No. 2. They are among a group of six in-state prospects committed to the Razorbacks in the current cycle.
“I’m gonna be the biggest recruiter in the state of Arkansas; you’re going to have to put me on the payroll,” Collins told FOX16’s Nick Walters in April.
The 2024 class isn’t quite complete as of now, but Collins’ reaching out and steady presence at on-campus events has been a big part of why the Razorbacks are putting together one of their best classes ever.
Collins and his defensive counterpart Kavion Henderson have been the biggest recruiters for the 2024 class on Twitter, whether they know they have a chance at a player or not. The pair of defensive linemen are locked in at Arkansas, and are determined to bring even more talent with them.
As for his performance on the field, Collins is already well on his way to his goal of 20 sacks. Among his 13 tackles in Mills’ season-opening win against Blytheville were three sacks.
With Little Rock Mills head coach Cortez Lee relieving him from receiver duties to focus strictly on defense, the 5A state championship should once again be in reach. Collins and his team should enjoy a lot of success before he heads to Fayetteville.
If there’s one thing for certain, he’s going to make sure he goes out with a bang.
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