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A&M honors injured player’s scholarship

Rare condition ended Cedric Collins’ career

Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2014 00:02

Deciding on where to play football and, more importantly, where to continue one’s education is a long process that came to an end on Wednesday when players across the country sent their national letter of intent to the school of their choice.

However, for Cedric Collins — the football-savvy defensive back out of Skyline High School in Dallas — signing a letter of intent was more than his ticket to play football. It was his ticket to an education.

“[Collins’] family … [was] really looking forward to not only him playing football but most of all getting an education at Texas A&M,” said head coach Kevin Sumlin. “I thought it was important to put that family at ease and say, ‘Whatever happens, Ced is going to be with us and he is going to go to school here.’ And that’s just kind of how we do that.”

Collins, who committed to A&M in August 2012 and was A&M’s first class of 2014 commit, felt numbness in his legs during a high school playoff game in 2012. What doctors found were congenital cervical abnormalities that made football too dangerous to continue. Collins was diagnosed with Klippel-Feil Syndrome, which is an exceptionally rare congenital fusion of the vertebrae.

Despite Collins’ injury and the non-binding commitment A&M made to Collins in August 2012, Sumlin and the Aggie coaching staff honored the four-star recruit’s commitment.

“Commitment is a two-way street,” Sumlin said. “There have been a number of instances where guys have had [scholarships] pulled on them. His family believed in us early in his career and I just thought that it was important that we showed them the same type of commitment that they showed us from the beginning.”

With his injury restraining him from playing a contact sport, Collins will trade in his shoulder pads and cleats for a visor and clipboard this season to become the only A&M student coach on scholarship.

 

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