Cayson Collins had a big season last fall. Despite his success, he insists the season did not live up to his expectations.
"Personally, I think it could have been better," said Collins. "But with what we had, we did pretty well. I will definitely use last season as motivation for next year because we didn't finish how I envisioned."
"Individually, I think I did pretty well. I think I stepped up and made plays when I needed to. I'm still trying to become a student of the game and expand my role with the team, though."
His high level of play did not go unnoticed and several college coaching staffs are pursuing him. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker made late-season trips to two of those schools.
"I went to Clemson and (North) Carolina for games," he said.
Collins enjoyed his time in Chapel Hill.
"My visit to North Carolina was really good," said Collins. "I actually got to meet Coach (Larry) Fedora and they treated me really nice down there. He told me that he was interested in what I can do on the field. He said I had a lot of natural talent. He told me that they rarely offer scholarships off of (game) tape and that he wanted to get me down there to one of their camps to evaluate me. "
"I think that my favorite part of the visit was being able to be on the sideline when they came out on the field. I was close enough to where I felt like I was a part of it.
He also enjoyed his time on the Tigers' campus.
"I enjoyed my trip to Clemson, too," he said. "They also said they like what I can do on the field. They told me that I have natural talent. Coach (Danny) Pearman told me that I have a good instincts and that is something they like about me."
North Carolina State offered Collins last fall; however, that offer came from the previous coaching staff. Collins said he has not talked to the new coaching staff, but plans to soon.
"I haven't really reached out to the new N.C. State staff, but that is definitely something that I plan on doing in the near future," said Collins. "I've still been getting consistent mail from them, though."
The previously mentioned schools are not the only ones showing significant interest in the linebacker.
"I'm also still getting mail from Louisville, Tennessee, and Notre Dame," he said.
Over the next several months, Collins has some trips lined up.
"I'm going to North Carolina and N.C. State for their junior days," he said. "I'm also going to camp Clemson and probably South Carolina.
Besides his scheduled visits, the Phillip O. Berry Academy star will be focused on becoming a better football player.
"My dad has hooked me up with a speed trainer, so I'm definitely going to be working hard this spring," Collins said. "I want to gain some weight and get faster. I'm also going to focus on fundamental stuff to help me get ready for the next level. I'm planning on having a big senior season."
Collins finished his junior season with 98 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and an 85-yard fumble return for a touchdown.