The Kentucky Wildcats and head coach Mark Stoops have hired Georgia State assistant Chris Collins to be the new defensive backs coach, the school announced Thursday. Collins previously served as Georgia State’s safeties coach for the past four seasons.
“Going through the hiring process for this job I talked to several candidates but each time I talked to Chris I came away more and more impressed with him,” Stoops said in a press release. “He brings great energy and enthusiasm to the staff on the field and as a recruiter. We are very excited to have him on board.”
Collins will replace Steve Clinkscale, who left for Michigan last month. It will be hard to replace Clink, who since 2016 had helped transform the Kentucky defense, churning out pros such as Lonnie Johnson, Super Bowl champion Mike Edwards, and most recently Brandin Echols.
Working as the safeties coach at Georgia State since 2017, Collins recently took on the-role of recruiting coordinator in 2019, in which he helped bring in Georgia State’s highest ranked recruiting class, in terms of average player ranking, in program history.
Collins played his collegiate ball at Western Carolina where he was an All-Southern Conference defender who amassed over 300 tackles in his career. Collins would end up coaching at Western Carolina, Appalachian State, Catabwa College.
“My family and I are extremely blessed and excited to be a part of the Kentucky football family,” Collins said in a press release. “On top of Kentucky being an elite level program known for developing talent, this interview process has shown me a tremendous amount about Coach Stoops, Coach (Brad) White and the rest of the staff. When they say family first, they really mean it. During this interview process my wife and I were having our first child. Coach Stoops readjusted his schedule to accommodate my time with my wife and son. That showed me everything that I needed to know about the men I would be working with. ”Coach Stoops’ knowledge is second to none when it comes to defensive backs. I’m excited to learn and work with him, Coach White and the rest of the staff to continue to elevate this defense.”
Collins will be walking into a good situation with the Kentucky secondary. The Wildcats return a plethora of capable defensive backs such as Yusuf Corker, who has the potential to be one of the best in the SEC, Tyrell Ajian, Quandre Mosely, and Cedrick Dort along with the young talent like Carrington Valentine and Andru Phillips.
Kentucky currently has commitments from three-star Andre Stewart and three-star Alex Afari on for 2022 in the secondary, although Afari is listed as an athlete. And on June 11, Kentucky will be getting an official visit from three-star Nashville safety D’Arco Perkins McAllister.
Last season, the Kentucky defense gave up 25.9 points per game, 224.6 passing yards per game, and the secondary itself picked off eight of the 16 total interceptions last season, highlighted by Kelvin Joseph’s four INT’s.