Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 52 of 55 SEPT. 10, 2018 53 WHERE HAVE YOU GONE? lins and the determined Irish pre‑ vailed in the 13‑11 slugfest over the 10‑point favorite Crimson Tide, sending out Parseghian the way they wanted. "He was a class, class guy, smart, charismatic. He had it all," said Collins, who flew in from Califor‑ nia for Parseghian's funeral in 2017. "He was everything you imagined a Notre Dame coach to be." BEYOND NOTRE DAME Since 1962, Crable and Demetrius DuBose (1993) were the only two Notre Dame linebackers drafted higher than Collins, but coaching changes, injuries (especially to his shoulder) and altering systems were among the factors that led to an NFL career that never was fulfilled in his three seasons total at San Francisco (1975), expansion team Seattle (1976) and then Buffalo (1977). "Yes, no question," Collins said of the cold reality he had to overcome after getting bypassed on the waiver wire for the final time. "It's hard be‑ cause you knew you could be play‑ ing. I think everyone on the second team thinks they should be starting, and I was no different. "Guys like Butkus, no matter what, will rise to the top, but sometimes it's just not the right place, the coach doesn't like your style … it doesn't come together." He went back to Michigan to enter the real estate business with friends, but he discovered another sobering actuality. "Interest rates at the time were 18 to 20 percent, especially in Detroit, and it just didn't work out," said Col‑ lins, who then matriculated back to Seattle, where he had contacts in the RV industry. "It was mainly hard sells, and I wasn't really good at strong‑arming people into buying," he explained. "I did okay, but it wasn't for me." However, the company did expand down into California and eventually the Los Angeles area, where his inter‑ est in acting became piqued. Although he is in the retirement range, Collins began raising a family later in life. He became a first‑time father at age 52 when twin boys Grif‑ fin and Jasper (now 13) were born, followed by daughter Charlie (10), an aspiring gymnast who trains about 16 hours a week. "It made me grow up," Collins said with a chuckle. "I was playing hockey two or three times a week, living the life of a young guy. "Then I had the kids and I had to become an adult, make sure there is a house for them and take care of them." Although now divorced, Collins maintains a friendly relationship with his ex in raising their children together, and his current role in‑ cludes the S.W.A.T. cast with Shemar Moore on There is still some hockey left in him on occasion. "I've been blessed," Collins said. "I still do acting, but I don't live and die for the next part. Something always seems to come up. "Life is pretty good, I must say." That has never been an act for him. ✦ "MY GOAL WAS TO MAKE EVERY TACKLE IN THE GAME, WHICH IS RIDICULOUS. I JUST WANTED TO ALWAYS BE WHERE THE ACTION AND CONTACT WERE." COLLINS Ara Parseghian's Best Recruiting Class The recruiting class signed in 1971, including Greg Collins, was the best of the Ara Parseghian era from 1964-74, and Blue & Gold Illustrated ranked it among the four strongest at Notre Dame since the end of World War II. The criteria includes making a difference, star power, balance at each position and overall depth, and this group that "graduated" with Parseghian after the 1974 season had it all. The three classes that sandwich this one — 1969, 1970 and 1972 — had, believe it or not, only five players total that made an NFL roster on offense or defense, most notably tight end Dave Casper. The 1971 harvest was the centerpiece that helped lift Notre Dame to the 1973 national title (11-0) and then a No. 6 finish in 1974 (10-2) after upsetting 11-0 Alabama in the Orange Bowl. The group included: Quarterback: Tom Clements — Three-year starter who finished fourth in the Heisman balloting as a senior. Fullback: Wayne "The Train" Bullock— Rushed for the most yardage (1,892) and touchdowns (24) in the Parseghian era. Halfbacks: Eric Penick, Al Samuel and Ron Goodman — Each started during his career, with Penick running for a team-high 774 yards (including the bowl) as a sophomore. Receiver: Pete Demmerle — The top pass catcher his last two seasons was named a consensus All- American. Tight End: Tom Fine — Although he never started, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills. Offensive Line: Gerry DiNardo, Steve Sylvester, Steve Neece, Ed Bauer and Steve Quehl — Each started at least one full season. DiNardo was a consensus All-American, Sylvester won three Super Bowl rings and Bauer was a captain as a fifth-year player in 1975. Defensive Line: Mike Fanning and Kevin Nosbusch — Fanning was a first-round selection in 1975, while Nosbusch was the No. 111 selection overall (fourth round today). Linebacker: Greg Collins, Drew Mahalic and Sherm Smith — Collins joined Fanning as a second-team All-American and was a second-round pick in the NFL Draft, Mahalic was a three-year starter and third- round choice, and Smith was a regular in the rotation. Defensive Back: Reggie Barnett — The three-year starting cornerback joined Demmerle as an Aca- demic All-American. — Lou Somogyi After a brief professional football career that was derailed by various setbacks, Collins has worked as an actor in films and television since the early 1980s. PHOTO COURTESY GREG COLLINS

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