Jaguars hire Mark Collins as linebackers coach

Collins was with the Jets for the past two seasons


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars have named Mark Collins the team’s linebackers coach, the club announced today.

“Mark Collins joins our staff highly recommended by his peers in the coaching community,” said Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. “His aggressive, takeaway-focused mentality will be in an invaluable asset to our organization as we look to establish a winning attitude. Our linebacker unit has been a strength for our team and will continue to improve under his guidance.”

Collins, entering his 18th year coaching and his eighth in the NFL, joins the Jaguars after a two-year stint as the outside linebackers coach with the New York Jets.

“With 17 years in coaching, Mark Collins will bring a diverse array of professional and collegiate experience to our staff,” said Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone. “I’m excited to see our linebackers respond to his leadership and continue to develop in the upcoming year.”

Last season with the Jets, Collins oversaw the development of rookie OLB Jordan Jenkins and the progression of fourth-year OLB Sheldon Richardson, who won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2013 and earned a Pro Bowl appearance in 2014. In his first season, Jenkins totaled 40 tackles (22 solo), including 2.5 sacks, while Richardson led the team with 13 tackles for loss and finished the year with 62 total tackles (38 solo).

In his first year with the Jets in 2015, Collins oversaw a unit in which four different OLBs registered sacks, led by rookie third-round selection Lorenzo Mauldin (4.0). Mauldin registered all of his sacks after Week 8, finishing with the most by a Jets rookie since 2012. Richardson, in his third season, registered 5.0 sacks, his second consecutive season with at least 5.0 sacks. Veteran OLB Calvin Pace added 3.0 sacks, his eighth consecutive season totaling at least 3.0 sacks.

Prior to joining the Jets, Collins spent four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons from 2010-14, serving as a defensive assistant from 2010-13 and working with the outside linebackers in 2014. During his time with the Falcons, Atlanta produced 140 takeaways, the ninth-most in the NFL over that span. While serving as the defensive assistant (2010-13), Collins assisted with the defensive line and a run defense that registered a tackle for loss once every 10.2 rushing attempts, the eighth-highest rate in the NFL.

Before entering the NFL coaching ranks, Collins spent 11 seasons at the collegiate level, with stops at Louisiana–Monroe, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Elon and Michigan after getting his start in coaching at his alma mater, East Tennessee State.

In 2009, Collins served as the safeties coach at the University of Louisiana-Monroe after a two-year stint at the University of Georgia. From 2007-08, Collins spent two seasons at the University of Georgia as a graduate assistant. During one season at Georgia, the Bulldogs finished the season as the No. 2 ranked team in the final Associated Press poll.

In 2006, Collins worked at Georgia Southern as the outside linebackers coach and tutored AFCA first-team All-American John Mohring, while also working with the special teams units for the Eagles. In 2005, Collins served as a defensive coordinator at Elon University, helping the Phoenix defense finish with the third-best total defense in the Southern Conference. From 2003-04, Collins worked at the University of Michigan and helped the Wolverines win two consecutive Big Ten Championships and make back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances. Collins served as the assistant linebackers coach in 2003 and coached the offensive line in 2004.

Following his playing career, Collins spent four seasons at his alma mater, East Tennessee State, serving as the assistant defensive backs coach (1999), outside linebackers coach (2000), defensive line coach/special teams coordinator (2001) and outside linebackers coach/special teams coordinator (2002).

Collins, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is a 1998 graduate of East Tennessee State where he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. As a four-year starter at defensive end and outside linebacker, Collins won the John Robert Bell Award, given to the player who displays intensity, loyalty and work ethic, and was the team's captain in 1997. Collins was also a National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame Scholar in 1995-96.