Former Arlington Martin defensive end Justin Hollins is one of a handful of local products who will be playing Monday in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. The Oregon true freshman has played in all 14 of the Ducks’ games, totaling 10 tackles, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery. Hollins chatted with the Star-Telegram during Saturday’s media session at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.
What’s the transition from high school to college been like for you, especially since you’ve seen playing time in each game this season? This year was kind of like a learning experience for me, getting a feel for it. It’s a different kind of game from high school. This year was well-needed, to get comfortable out on the field. And to learn the defense and get better as a player.
What specifically did you have to adjust to playing at this level? The speed and the size. And then, on top of that, you have to learn how to practice.
What has the last week and a half been like for you, considering you’re coming back to your hometown to play for a national championship? I had to get a couple more tickets than they give us, but it’s going to be great coming home and playing in front of family and friends and people I know.
You transferred to Martin before your senior year, and then played opposite of Myles Garrett, the top defensive end in the country. How did your time at Martin help you develop? At Martin, it was more competitive than it was at [Arlington] Grace Prep, so it kind of prepared me more for what I’ve seen [at Oregon].
What’s has the experience of participating in the inaugural College Football Playoff been like, and how has the team adjusted to the unique schedule the past two weeks? It’s a blessing. We don’t take it for granted, because not everybody gets this opportunity or gets to keep playing right now. We didn’t have as much time to recover [compared to break between regular season and the Rose Bowl], but we’re still the same. We still prepare the same. — Ryan Osborne