Austin Collie, BYU's all time leading receiver (3,255 career yds) has finally found a new home on New England. After being released from the Colts at the end of last season, Austin worked out with several teams, including play time with the 49ers in the pre-season (which many hoped was the light at the end of a long tunnel), but was tragically left off of the final roster.
Today the Patriots signed Collie after multiple injuries have diminished their original receiving corps (4 of 6 wide receivers out).
Collie has been productive in the NFL when healthy. In his first three seasons he had 173 receptions for a total of 1,845 yards, 676 of them coming from his first year alone (when the Colts went all the way to the playoffs). The only problem is that he has a long list of injuries himself, struggling with concussions and a ruptured patellae tendon. It was fear of that medical history that many believe he wasn't pursued further in the preseason.
BYU fans may remember the great trio of QB Max Hall, TE Dennis Pitta, and WR Austin Collie who headlined the offense from 2007-2009. Most famous perhaps is Collie's reception from Max Hall on 4th and 19 against Utah in 2009.
For BYU he lined up on the outside, as he could use his speed and pure talent to beat even the best of corners. The Colts played him on the inside a lot with quick cuts into the middle, preferring to keep their time-tested starters Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon on the outside. The inside proved no problem for Collie though. If anything, he found a home there, strengthening Peyton Manning's options everywhere in the secondary (Clark, Wayne, Garcon, and Collie were a scary combo. Chaos broke loose when you threw Joseph Addai into the mix too).
With 4 of 6 wide-outs injured on the Patriots team this year, Collie may have found the opportunity he's been looking for to seek out those deep passes we all remember from his time at BYU. If he gets playing time (and he's very likely to), don't be surprised to see him turn some heads again. When he's healthy, he gets things done. Tom Brady's going to like his new target.
To Austin, we say, good luck in your future with the Patriots. We've missed you so far this season and can't wait to see what you do in New England.
Until we can see him play though, enjoy some nostalgic highlights from his career with BYU and the Colts. Pay particular attention to on of his most memorable catches (for me) starting at around 2:52 against Colorado State.