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University of Kentucky freshman wide receiver Daryl Collins was pointed to as one of the young skill players who might make an early impact on the 2011 UK football team by the coaching staff and fans. Collins will have to wait at least one year to make that impact after suffering a season-ending knee injury in practice this week, UK head coach Joker Phillips announced Friday.
“Daryl go hurt a couple of days ago,” Phillips said. “We were really just waiting for the evaluation to come back. He’ll have surgery. He’ll be out for the year.”
Earlier this week, Phillips said a couple of freshmen wide receivers had broken the two-deep depth chart. Collins and fellow freshman DeMarco Robinson were widely believe to be those two freshmen.
“He was right on the verge of whether or not he was going to help us,” Phillips said. “We were going to continue to work with him. It was going to be hard to make that decision for the first game, because we wanted to make sure he had enough snaps to play.”
“Losing him has the potential to hurt us a little bit this year,” said UK offensive coordinator Randy Sanders. “But you also don’t know, because you don’t know how he was going to develop.”
Collins is a 5-foot-11 wide receiver from Gadsden, Ala. He was a four-year letterman and three-year starter at Gadsden City High School. Prior to fall camp, Phillips said Collins and the other freshmen receivers had a chance to play early because they had played the position in high school.
“He had been coming along great,” said UK junior quarterback Morgan Newton of Collins. “It’s kind of tough for that to happen, especially when it did with the timing of everything. He’ll continue to work hard, had he’ll have a long career.”
UK has not made freshmen available to talk to the media during fall camp, but on media day Collins said he looked forward to playing early in his UK career and was flattered by early comparisons to former UK wider receiver Randall Cobb.
“They are comparing me to Randall already,” Collins said. “I mean that’s a lot. They couldn’t say anything better than that: comparing me to somebody great like that.”
While Collins’ injury will prevent him from seeing the field as a true freshman, Sanders said it could work out well in the long run with Collins utilizing a redshirt season.
“While it was a negative a little bit this year, it’s a positive for the next four years because we’ll have a chance to have him around,” Sanders said.
UK announced Friday afternoon that Collins’ knee injury was a dislocated right kneecap.