Charleston Collins prides himself on a few things.
First and foremost, he cares about being a good big brother and role model for his little brother “Peanut.”
The Arkansas football freshman, who just enrolled early a few weeks ago, is already working toward making a splash on the field come the fall. He wants to make sure he delivers for Razorback fans eager to see what kind of damage he can do behind returning standouts like Landon Jackson and transfer Anton Juncaj. “You can expect a show,” Collins told the Wu Pig Podcast. “I like to call myself one of the most entertaining football players in the nation.”
To that end, the defensive end has already been delivering. First, in December, there was this spectacularly salty “X” post that simply showed Bobby Petrino giving someone the bird. Perhaps Collins was clapping back at fans who were still hand-wringing over bringing Petrino back as the offensive coordinator, perhaps he was letting folks know that the class of 2024 isn’t soft or perhaps on that particularly day he just woke up and, as our own Derek Oxford put it, “decided that violence was the answer.”
The Little Rock Mills High grad certainly looked pro-violence when he last hit the football field during the All-American Bowl in January. Below you can see him notching the kind of sack that shows why he’s already tabbed by one outlet as the anticipated most impactful freshman on the Arkansas football roster in 2024.
Also on those All-American Bowl rosters were two other Arkansans who chose to go elsewhere for college – quarterback Walker White (Auburn) and wide receiver Courtney Crutchfield (Missouri).
It’s the Crutchfield decision that most gnaws at Collins sometimes. He and Crutchfield, after all, are cousins who grew up playing football in the front yard of their grandmother’s home in the Pine Bluff area. By the time they reached high school, they were considered the two best recruits in their class in the entire state. Collins had tried to re-recruit to Crutchfield to the Hogs after the latter de-committed and even now still tries to convince his cousin to pull an Ashton Bethel-Roman on Mizzou here and there, saying “Hey, you know you can still take your letter back and you say you want to go to Arkansas?”
This ongoing pursuit isn’t too surprising given few come across as all-Hog and gung-ho about Arkansas as Charleston Collins.
Missouri Football Bound
What did come as a surprise, though, was his answer to a question from the Wu-Pig Podcast host. Oliver McGhee asked Collins if he felt “some kind of way” about his cousin not returning to the in-state fold and choosing to cast his lot instead with Eli Drinkwitz’s Missouri football program.
“I was actually proud of him,” Collins responded.
“Not everybody has what it takes to make that decision. You have to have a level a maturity and self-respect and self-dignity to make a decision like that, especially knowing all the backlash and things like that that’s going to come with it.”
Granted, it’s not exactly as if Crutchfield was charting entirely new territory given fellow Pine Bluff High standout Austen Dendy chose Missouri, too. The year before, Zebra Jordon Harris had also gone to the Tigers. Pine Bluff’s head football coach Michael Williams said the reason Drinkwitz is able to “clean up” in Arkansas recruiting is because he’s loaded his staff with so many Arkansas natives while the Razorbacks have none.
Charleston Collins continued to explain his reasoning on the Wu-Pig Podcast: “I wasn’t happy that he did it, because of course I wanted to play with him, but it was a proud moment to see him man up and mature and he say, ‘Hey, y’all going to be mad, but this is what this is and it’s best for me and my family.'”
Arkansas Football Wins Sometimes Too
Obviously, this is not going to please Arkansas football fans, but the reasoning here is solid. All states lose high-level talent to other other programs. Different Razorback programs have benefited from great players from other states saying the same thing to their nearby schools over the years. Todd Day saying ‘No” to Memphis, or Alex Collins stiff-arming Miami or what they imagine super recruit Jackson Cantwell doing to his home state Missouri Tigers are just some examples of this kind of dynamic working in favor of Arkansas.
While many Razorback fans lament such an elite wide receiver flying the coop, even if Crutchfield had stuck with the Hogs, his talents would be for naught if Arkansas’ offensive line repeats its same abysmal performance in 2024. If, however, Arkansas’ offensive line improves in off-season practices – thanks to the efforts of Collins, Jackson and others – then Arkansas will win more games and become a much attractive landing spot for future play-makers recruited from the high school and transfer portal alike.
Collins isn’t gonna to stop hoping for that family reunion down the line: “Courtney, if you see this – if it don’t work out – the portal is always open.”
At the end of this clip, Collins rags on Crutchfield and Walker White a bit for not going to Arkansas:
More Charleston Collins on Arkansas Football:
Collins believes his pass rush is where he needs to improve the most. “There’s still things for me to learn like reaction time, what to do if O-line has high hands or low hands and things of that sort, which are things that I’m really excited and interested to deal with Coach [Deke] Adams, just so I can work in a bit of my game,” he told the Wu Pig Podcast.
“I wouldn’t say rush stopping because truth be told, it probably just come down to who want it more. It’s not always who’s stronger or who’s shorter, taller. It’s who wants it more…. I feel as though as long I keep that hunger and that dog in me, I should be a well-rounded player.”
Make sure to watch the entire interview with Charleston Collins here:
See more on Charleston Collins and Arkansas football here: