By Robert Wilson

Tate Collins has been at Jackson Academy less than a month, but he has already made an impact on the Raider football program.

The biggest was Friday night in JA’s 37-0 victory over Starkville Academy in the season opener for both teams.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Collins, a Madison Central transfer, ran for 148 yards on 10 carries, including an 85-yard touchdown, and completed 3 of 3 passes for 97 yards and two TDs off the bench.

For his performance, Collins has been named the Junction Deli/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Football Player of the Week.

Collins started at quarterback at Madison Central for the first four games last season before a season-ending knee injury. In Collins’ first start as a Jaguar, he scored two TDs as he guided Madison Central to 28 second-half points in a 31-20 victory over Northwest Rankin in the 2020 season opener. Northwest Rankin won seven straight games after that and finished 9-4 and reached the 6A state quarterfinals. Madison Central, ranked in the Top 10 in Mississippi to start the season, and finished 7-4 and lost to Oxford in the first round of the 6A playoffs.

Photo by Chris Todd

Collins shared quarterback duties Friday night with junior Clayton White, who was Jackson Conn’s backup last season. Collins played defense at safety for much of the first half, but also played some quarterback and completed a 20-yard TD pass to J.T. Thigpen with 26 seconds to play before halftime for a 9-0 JA lead. Collins then completed a 75-yard TD pass to Banks in the third quarter and ran for an 85-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

“Tate missed our first practice in July but has been here ever since,” JA coach Lance Pogue said. “He has fit into our team very well. Tate has earned the respect of our football team. He’s very smart and will continue to gain confidence. Tate is an unbelievable athlete, who can play quarterback and safety. He’s a Division I prospect. Florida Atlantic offered Tate before his knee injury. I feel like he’s going to get a lot of more looks once colleges find out he is here and playing again.”

JA plays at defending MAIS Class 5A state champion Leake Academy, 1-0, Friday night. Leake has won 14 consecutive games, including a 47-37 win over JA where Leake rallied from a 30-7 deficit in the third quarter for the victory. 

Mississippi Scoreboard selects a football player from Hinds, Madison or Rankin counties each week. Coaches can nominate a player by text or phone to Robert Wilson at 601.506.2276 or email [email protected]