Top running back prospect for this year’s NFL draft Alex Collins has discovered a new secret method to keep him quick on his feet, a method we highly approve of: Irish dance. Collins was the highest ranking running back in the nation in high school, a star at the University of Arkansas, and he is expected to go in the first round of the draft on Thursday night, according to Bleacher Report.
Collins was introduced to Irish dancing by his high school coach's 15-year old daughter, and he joins her and her friends on a weekly basis to practice his "aon, dó, trís." Collins uses the alias Mitchell Findley when he is Irish dancing.
The former Arkansas Razorback Running Back was skeptical of Irish dance at the start, refusing to acknowledge that it was a sport despite its competitive element. That all changed, however, when he was convinced to join a dance class at Drake School of Irish Dance in Florida and it has grown to become part of his weekly training schedule ever since.
Inspired to create his alter-ego in tribute to the great Lord of the Dance himself, Michael Flatley, of whom Collins is a big fan, the running back has a way to go before he can compete with the teenage girls in his class. It’s slightly easier for them to jump in the air with their hands strictly by their sides as they don't have the body mass that holds Collins closer to the ground.
“The hardest thing is trying to jump without using my arms, because in football we jump and use our arms to help us,” Collins told MMQB.
“I'm like a chicken running around trying to keep one arm down and my other arm is flapping around.”
Collins isn’t just looking for a few new steps to put into his touchdown celebration, however. The class certainly puts him through his paces and helps condition and strengthen in his legs. It also helps him with his quickness and movement on the field.
“It is all about rhythm and timing in Irish dance, and so it is for the running back as well,” he said.
“Here I am always on my toes, and I really love it because it builds my lower body muscles and my calf muscles.
“I am more explosive on the field. As a running back you want to have that lower body strength and that footwork – and this is perfect place to get it.”
In the final days of the draft, Collins is perfecting his reel (type of Irish dance) hoping he’ll have plenty of reasons to bring it out in celebration in the near future.H/T: The Monday Morning Quarter Back