For most, going to college and getting through a heavy course load is enough to balance, but not for Army ROTC Cadet William Collins.
After completing three years of NCAA Division 1 football at the University of Louisiana Monroe, Collins decided to finish out his undergrad at University of Central Oklahoma (UCO). Coming from a family with a history of military service and the love of football, Collins wanted a way to complete his master’s degree, play football, and join the Army, so that’s exactly what he did.
After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 2019, Collins applied for his master’s degree to continue his stay at UCO. Collins went on to not only study Secondary Education and play football as their starting quarterback, but also became a part of the Army ROTC program.
Just when you think balancing two very demanding activities outside of your typical day-to-day college classes is enough, Collins was asked by NFL scouts to throw at UCO’s NFL Pro Day.
How did he do it you ask?
“It was very hard. I would do morning PT with ROTC and then lifted weights at night at a local gym. Then after morning PT I would knock out all my online grad school homework, and before my night lift, hit some sprints to throw routes to whomever would stand there and catch,” says Collins.
While Collins often times sacrificed a social life, extra time to spend with his girlfriend and family, and any down time that many other college students value, he says it was absolutely worth it.
Collins found that juggling school, ROTC and training for football while adding in extra workouts is very difficult. However, he believes ROTC helped him to be a better student, athlete, teammate, and truly pushed him harder than he would have pushed himself to train for the Pro Day.
“I was inspired to be a Cadet and train for this. I wanted to show that Cadet’s across the country are elite and that our nation’s future officers are capable of accomplishing anything… [ROTC] helped me realize just how important it is to communicate well as a leader,: Collins said. "As the quarterback, one of my jobs is to communicate the signal, or play call, to all the lineman and receivers ... Same is to be said for an infantry platoon leader. I will have to communicate fast and effectively."
Currently, Collins is waiting to hear back from a team, and has high hopes about his performance on Pro Day. Collins decided that if he does get chosen to go into the NFL, he will take that opportunity, and join the Army Reserves. However, after his football career, he has reservations to immediately find his way back to the active duty component, being that that is his ultimate dream.
In the meantime, Collins is set to graduate and commission from UCO in May of 2021. Collins hopes to branch infantry and go to Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) and looks forward to possibly attending Ranger School to “hopefully train and be a part of the greatest force on Earth.”