Michael Collins had options. The quarterback who transferred to TCU from the University of Pennsylvania last summer considered Iowa, Nebraska and Pittsburgh.
But TCU's Neeley School of Business impressed Collins and his family, and the football team gave him the best chance to win, he said, and "it just felt like home."
TCU coach Gary Patterson and offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie made no promises.
In fact, Collins wasn't put on scholarship until January. He spent last fall as the scout team quarterback. That's when it started to become clear to coaches that Collins had what it takes to play in the Big 12.
"Like every new guy, he’s deep in alligators," Patterson said. "But he's a lot more athletic than what people give him credit for. We have to play a lot better at quarterback. I think we've played better than how some freshman would, but we want them to play like seniors. So how do you get them to play like seniors? That’s the goal for the whole team, not just the quarterback."
His maturity and studiousness, for a player who'll be a redshirt sophomore in the fall, are attractive qualities. But with Justin Rogers, the true freshman star of the 2018 recruiting class, likely to be redshirted in the wake of his knee surgery last fall, Collins gives the Horned Frogs much-needed security behind Shawn Robinson, along with fifth-year senior Grayson Muehlstein.
"He wanted to play at a higher level," Patterson said. "I think his family was quite surprised when he came and looked at our place and how good our business school is. Both his mom and dad were Ivy League people also. He has a chance to get a great education and be successful in life whether [he] becomes a great quarterback or not a great quarterback."
Collins dismissed the notion that Texas' warmer climate played much a factor in his decision. He grew up in Connecticut but the real draw was the business school and the football program. Saturday's spring game weather with temperatures in the 30s got a laugh from Collins.
"The weather really didn’t matter to me. I’ve played football in a blizzard before. I really couldn’t care less about that," he said. "I took a leap of faith and I’m glad it turned out this way. This is what I was expecting. I was confident in my decision and I’m just happy I’m here, happy to help out the team in any way."
Collins said the biggest difference from Penn is the pace, including the individual speed of the athletes.
"Just the speed of everything; how fast players like [KaVontae] Turpin and [Jalen] Reagor are," he said. "Everybody is just a little bit bigger, a lit bit faster."