November 1, 2006

Sprint’s Collin Scholar Athlete of the Month

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Senior defensive end Matt Collin has been a staple of the sprint football defense for the last three years. Collin, who is this month’s Scholar Athlete of the Month recipient, has been a two-time all-league performer, a second-team All-CSFL honoree and a menace on the defensive line for Terry Cullen.
“He is one of the most intense players I’ve ever coached,” Cullen said. “He took his game to another level this year. He was unblockable and came up with some huge plays for us. He led the league in sacks [with eight] and blocked two huge field goals in our season: one against Penn and the other against Navy.”
[img_assist|nid=19394|title=sprint|desc=Senior defensive end Matt Collin (48) goes after Princeton quarterback Alex Kandabarow (17) in the Red’s 35-0 win on Oct. 13.|link=popup|align=right|width=74|height=100]
The Red finished the 2006 season with a sparkling 6-0 record and a CSFL championship. For the seniors on the team, many of whom have played football their entire lives, ending this special season was bittersweet.
“It is really sad to realize that I’ve played this game for 11 years and I’m not going to be able to play again,” Collin said. “It is an amazing feeling to go out on top and finish the year undefeated. I can’t stop thinking about that game, and I think after a while, when it soaks in, we’ll appreciate it even more.”
The most recent victory came this past Friday night against Army, and featured over 40 alumni who made the trip to West Point to watch the Red make history. Cullen has been head coach of the sprint football team for more than 40 years and this was his first league championship since 1986.
“Coach said before the game that if we played our game, we knew we should win,” Collin said. “It’s always tough to win on the road, but we have to control the ball and make plays. After the game he emphasized how important the victory and our season was, and it was definitely emotional for him and for the seniors.”
Collin was one of seven seniors on the defensive unit that dominated the CSFL. The Red added a new defensive coordinator in the off-season, whom Collin refers to as a “defensive mastermind.” Along with the veteran seniors, the Red featured a slew of mostly returning players and two new transfers who Collin described as “outstanding, athletic football players.”
By far the most important win of the year was against Navy on Oct. 6. The Red won the game in overtime by a 16-10 margin and handed Navy its first loss in the last three years. Navy was the class of the sprint football league, especially over the last few years, and beating the champs gave many players hope that this could be a special year.
“Beating Navy earlier this year was the best moment of my career,” said Collin. “We knew we were a good team, and that we could beat the likes of Princeton and Penn but when we were able to bring Navy to overtime and then actually beat them, it was a defining moment for us. I saw the look in everyone’s eyes that they were thinking this could be a really memorable season for us.”
After Collin graduates this spring, he plans on attending law school in the fall, preferably somewhere in New York City. His first choices are Columbia and NYU law schools. Collin has shined academically, receiving a nomination from Cornell to become a Rhodes Scholar. He is also a member of Cornell Athletics’ 400 Club due to his 4.0 or better grade point average. Collin may have a bright future ahead of him, but he will surely never forget the hard work and dedication that went into the last three years of sprint football, nor the magic ride that he and his 58 other teammates enjoyed in 2006.