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October 9, 2013

Farmington Hills Harrison running back healthy, having big season

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Farmington Hills Harrison’s running back Lorenzo Collins looks for an opening as his blockers Jalin Kirkpatrick (55) and Jordan Austin (12) lead the way.

FARMINGTON HILLS — If given a choice, Farmington Hills Harrison running back Lorenzo Collins prefers the north-south approach in his running style.

At 6 feet and 210 pounds, the senior is the Hawks’ workhorse, running the ball on average 15-20 times, along with a presence in the passing game.

He’s helped lead the Hawks to a 5-1 overall mark and 4-1 record in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

“He’s a powerful runner,” Harrison coach John Herrington said. “He’s able to shed tackles and get tough yards. He’s not so much of an elusive runner as he is a strong runner.”

“I can make a move if I need to,” Collins said with a smile.

This is Collins’ third full season on varsity. As a sophomore, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards. Last season, hampered by injuries, he still nearly surpassed the century mark on the ground.

At press time, Herrington said his running back is averaging more than 100 yards a game and is well on pace to go over the 1,000 mark.

“This year, he’s healthy and much more explosive,” the coach said. “He’s developed, he reads the holes better, but he’s always been a good back.”

Though predicated on power, Collins’ style of running also includes a lot of patience and balance, giving his offensive line time to open a hole.

“You always have to have a last-minute resource. I’m not very good at cuts, but I also can make a simple cut to get upfield to get yards,” he said. “When it comes down to me and my line, I know I can count on them to get the first down.”

Collins enjoys the moment deep in a game when he can sense the defense on its heels.

“I can see that they’re a little more hesitant when I’m through the hole powerful. They kind of step back a bit,” he said.

Collins also has the knack to seemingly fall forward for an extra yard or two at the end of each run.

“It’s something that I was always taught,” he said. “Take on half the man or at least shed him off of you so you can get more yards.”

Collins’ impact is felt on both sides of the ball, starting at linebacker for a defense that’s giving up just 13 points a game.

“I think he could be a college linebacker if he doesn’t play tailback,” Herrington said. “He flows to the ball, reads it really well and can hit. He can get to the ball laterally really well.”

With Collins healthy and an offense scoring 31 per game, Herrington believes the Hawks can continue to surprise. Harrison’s only loss came against Southfield High in a one-point defeat after a 60-yard touchdown with less than a minute left.

“I thought that people underestimated us a little bit,” Herrington said. “We’ve played a lot of good football games and very well against Southfield; we just came up 48 seconds short. I’m real happy and looking forward to the rest of the year.”

Catch the Hawks against Oak Park High at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at home.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.