Michigan wideout Nico Collins talks NFL Draft status, shares sports idols


At some point this upcoming weekend, Nico Collins will receive a phone call from a head coach or general manager and hear his name called during the NFL Draft.

But the former Michigan wide receiver didn't always have his sights set on a career in pro football. He once envisioned himself on the hardwood, rather than the gridiron.

"I didn't end up falling in love with football until late in my sophomore year of high school. That's when I started receiving [college] offers and stuff like that," Collins told The Zach Gelb Show on Monday. "I really thought I was going to be a basketball player, I thought I was going to be a hooper, for real... I was a shooting guard. I liked to shoot the ball. I used to be like [Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant]. I used to look up to KD.

"So, anytime I played basketball, I always thought I was KD. I used to handle the ball, catch oops, lobs. I really liked the lob game, so we made sure everybody could hold it down, got bunnies. That's what I liked doing -- I liked dunking."

Collins, who elected to opt-out of the 2020 Big Ten season before the conference altered its pandemic plans and ultimately played games, is the No. 107 overall prospect on Pro Football Focus' NFL Draft Big Board, and the 16th-ranked player at his position. In 29 total collegiate games (22 starts), the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder caught 78 passes for 1,388 yards and 13 touchdowns, and in 2019, he led the Big Ten with an average of 19.7 yards per reception.

Since high school, Collins has also idolized Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans. And this answer isn't exactly a surprise, considering that the two players are rather similar in stature.

"I used to always watch Mike Evans, even when he was at Texas A&M playing with Johnny Manziel," Collins said. "I've been watching him for a minute. That's one dude I've always been watching, been looking up to. I feel like we both have similarities when it comes to football. So, that's one guy I've always been looking up to, always been studying."

The first round of the NFL Draft begins this Thursday, April 29 in Cleveland.

The entire conversation between Collins and Gelb can be accessed in the video and audio players above.

You can follow The Zach Gelb Show on Twitter @ZachGelb and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.