Michigan State Football: Elijah Collins will take that next step in 2020

Elijah Collins, Michigan State football (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
Elijah Collins, Michigan State football (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

Elijah Collins is working on improving his speed and acceleration and that means he’s taking that next step for Michigan State football.

The year was 2013 and Le’Veon Bell had just graduated, leaving a huge void in the backfield. A junior running back by the name of Jeremy Langford took over the All-Big Ten rusher and had an immediate impact. He essentially came out of nowhere to become a star.

Langford then rushed for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons before getting drafted by the Chicago Bears.

That was the last time a running back in East Lansing rushed for 1,000 yards and that’s a shock given the fact that Michigan State is a program that has built itself on the ground-and-pound. The “three yards and a cloud of dust” used to be the calling card for the Spartans and they produced a plethora of great running backs, but it’s been a quiet five years since Langford.

In 2019, however, we saw glimpses of greatness. Elijah Collins took over as RB1 after a Week 2 breakout performance when he rushed for 192 yards on 17 carries against Western Michigan. He finished the year with 988 yards and five touchdowns on 4.5 yards per touch. That may not seem like much, but for a redshirt freshman who was buried behind Connor Heyward and La’Darius Jefferson to start the year, it was a massive development in his career.

And he’s just getting started.

On Monday, he spoke with the media about the new coaching staff and what he’s been doing this offseason to better himself as a runner and his answers should have MSU fans excited.

If you watch highlights of Collins, a couple of things stick out: vision and patience. He was great at waiting for something to open up behind a mediocre offensive line and sometimes would even reverse field and pick up big yardage.

Collins’ patience and vision reminded fans a bit of Le’Veon but he lacked that breakaway speed on some of his longer runs that would have been the difference between 30-yard gains and 50-yard touchdowns. That’s something he’s working on this offseason and if the line improves and he adds a little speed, he’s going to have a monster year.

The sophomore back also admitted that he knows guys are gunning for his job and that push is going to make him work even harder and he looks at himself as a leader.

We are about to witness the rise of Collins in 2020 and I’m here for it.

dark. Next. MSU football: Game-by-game predictions for 2020