Although new to the NFL, 24-year-old Austin Collie has already earned the reputation of being a perfectionist. The 6-foot, 200-pounder is well known for spending countless hours reviewing game film and for repeatedly running routes until he masters them with precision timing.
“That drive is something you’re born with,” he says. “There are many people who are more athletic and have more God-given ability than I have, but the one thing that separates me is the mental aspect—everything has to be perfect. I can’t just walk away from the practice after feeling sloppy or running the wrong route. It has to be corrected.”
BORN TO SUCCEED
Even as a child, Austin wanted to get everything right. In fact, his father, Scott, says Austin once got in trouble with his second-grade teacher for insisting that he receive a new picture after he accidentally colored outside the lines. She thought he was being sarcastic when he volunteered to watch the class so she could go print another copy. “It’s this determination to be perfect that has made him who he is,” Scott says. Austin’s inherent determination flourished under the guidance of his parents, who require all their children to give one hundred percent toward everything they do. “Once you started something, you were not quitting, no matter how miserable you were,” Austin recalls. “I remember as a kid playing baseball. . . . I wanted to quit, but my dad made me finish out the season. And if he ever saw me with a C in any school subject, he knew I wasn’t trying hard enough. He was right. I wasn’t giving my best effort.”
“My wife, Nicole, and I are both extremely competitive,” Scott says. “That’s what life is all about. I believe that people are afraid to be put in a position to reach down and pull the best out of [themselves]. Competition does that. You’ve got to learn how to lose properly and improve things that put you in a position to lose. “It’s the same thing in the gospel,” Scott adds. “You’re battling everyday against the adversary. You’re trying to put yourself in a position to beat him. You can fall victim to him, or you can pick yourself back up and put yourself in a better position on that particular area.”
Throughout Austin’s childhood and adolescence, this competitive mentality helped him excel in both sports and academics in his hometown of El Dorado Hills, California. He starred as a wide receiver at Oak Ridge High School and earned several honors, including PrepStar and SuperPrep All-American; he was also voted Northern California’s Most Valuable Player. Graduating high school with a 4.0 GPA, Austin was highly sought after, receiving offers from Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington State, Oregon State, Colorado, Utah, and UNLV before signing with BYU in 2004.