"A lot of people tell me that it was because baseball was really my sport in high school. I had a lot of offers in baseball, including West Virginia,'' Collaros said. "But football was always my passion. I'm 6-foot and a half [inch] and I don't have the strongest arm in the world, but I love the game. I guess with some of those numbers [recruiters] can overlook some people.
"It just adds fuel to the fire for me. Every day working out - whether I'm working on my footwork or arm strength, in the weight room - knowing that these teams passed on me, I just want to give it my all every time I go against those teams.''
He's really had just one opportunity so far. He's not played significantly against Pitt, but last year he started in place of Pike against West Virginia, completing 17-of-24 passes for 205 yards and running for 44 in a 24-21 win.
That was the fifth of five straight games in which he filled in for Pike and had almost otherworldly numbers. For the season he finished 93-for-124 passing for 1,434 yards, 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Part of that, he admits, was perhaps a stroke of luck.
"I just think the offense we played in and the people I had around me really made it a lot easier,'' Collaros said. "If I'd been thrown into a situation without so many experienced guys and a lot of playmakers I'm sure it would have been a lot harder. We preached about the next man in and I had to step up and do my job.''
But this season Collaros has been almost as good. He passed for 463 yards against South Florida and seemed to have the Bearcats on track to a comeback win before injuring his knee and sitting out the final crucial minutes.
Not bad for a guy who seems almost self-deprecating about his own abilities.
"I'm not saying I'm not a confident person. But I know how people look at me and what they're thinking,'' Collaros said. "I am the underdog in a lot of people's eyes. I'm not as big as [most players], but I've always worked hard. Being from Steubenville High School they really instilled that in me. We were never really the underdogs in high school, but we worked that way. I really believe that having a chip on your shoulder is a good thing. Every day I wake up and think, 'I've got to outwork everybody else.' ''
Especially the guys who never paid much attention.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.