Collins Making the Most of Opportunity

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Sometimes it takes the misfortune of one player to enhance the fortune of another.

Take Clemson wide receiver Michael Collins, for instance.

Since transferring from the University of Tennessee two years ago, Collins has been a forgotten man in the Tigers' wide receiver rotation. Unable to crack a lineup which included Airese Currie, Derrick Hamilton, Kevin Youngblood and Tony Elliott a year ago, Collins - in his first year of eligibility after the transfer - had just four receptions.

This season, stuck behind Currie, Chansi Stuckey, Curtis Baham and Kelvin Grant, Collins had zero catches through Clemson's first five games.

But then as Lady Luck frowned on two of his teammates - Stuckey, who missed last Saturday's game with a hamstring injury and Grant, who was suspended one game for academic reasons - Collins finally got his chance.

Starting in the three-receiver set, Collins had six catches for 64 yards in the Tigers' 35-6 win over Utah State last Saturday at Death Valley. More importantly, he made the difficult catches - slants in traffic, third down conversion catches, etc. - that only Currie had done consistently in previous weeks.

"You like to see that. He's put his time in, worked hard and been a real team guy," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said. "We were real happy for Michael. He deserved it."

He also deserves another shot, Bowden said.

When Clemson goes into its four wide receiver set this week vs. Maryland, Collins will move into the starting lineup ahead of Grant. His performance last week earned him the opportunity, Bowden said.

"Out here (practice) are the warmups. Over there (pointing to Death Valley) are the real tests," he said. "Michael passed a test, and he deserves to get another chance."

Elsewhere Tuesday:

- Freshman offensive lineman Barry Hutchinson was carted off early in practice after suffering an apparent knee injury. Sports Information Director Tim Bourret said Hutchinson, who was being redshirted this season, would be evaluated and more on his condition would be known today.

- Stuckey returned to practice in a limited mode due to the weather. He went through some drills, but sat on others as the coaching staff continued to take precautions with his hamstring.

The only other injury from last Saturday, tight end Ben Hall (arm), wasn't serious.

"I'm playing, I'm playing," he called to reporters as he left the practice field.

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