Boise State's Daveon Collins didn't expect to run - or succeed - this fast.
The junior college transfer has won six Mountain West titles, set two school records, approached three more records and qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 200 meters in his first season with the Broncos.
He's an All-American contender (top eight are first team; next eight are second team) in the 24-man field that will run semifinals Thursday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The final is Saturday.
"I didn't think it was going to be like this," Collins said. "I knew I was going to run kind of fast. I thought probably my senior year I'd blow up. I feel way faster."
Collins, whose first name is pronounced "Day-von," won Mountain West titles indoors in the 60, 200 and 4x400 relay. He won conference crowns outdoors in the 100, 200 and 4x400.
"In the 100 meters, he's done more than what we thought," sprints coach Derrick Jackson said. "But in the 200, this was kind of the goal coming in. In the recruiting process, he mentioned that he wanted to be an All-American and this is obviously the first step to that. He's on track for what he wants to do."
Collins was more of a football player growing up in the Las Vegas area. He started on the gridiron when he was about 7 and added track at about 10.
He was a receiver at Canyon Springs High but began to blossom as a sprinter at Long Beach City College (2011) and Central Arizona College (2012). He injured both hamstrings last year, which hampered his recruitment, but Central Arizona coaches reached out to Boise State.
They had instant credibility with the Broncos because they also sent 2012 NCAA decathlon champion Kurt Felix to Boise.
The Broncos watched Collins at a junior college championship meet.
"He started kind of far in the back but he was able to pick it up as the race progressed," Jackson said. "We thought, if he's healthy, if he gets the strength that he needs, we think that he can do something special."
Collins has become a student of his sport. He frequently watches YouTube videos of sprinting greats like Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell and tries to mimic their techniques.
Jackson told Collins that Gay cut McDonald's from his diet; Collins tried that, too.
"I know what I want, so I stay focused," Collins said. "I think I've got a lot of heart, so if I really want it, I'll do it."
What he wants right now is a spot in the eight-man final for the 200 at the NCAA meet. He's the 20th seed based on a subpar race at the West preliminary meet, but if he can improve his sometimes-clunky start he figures he could finish in the top six.
"My mentality is, 'I want it. I want it bad,' " he said. "And I feel like I've been doing what I needed to do to get to this point.
"It's going to take a lot (to earn All-America status), but I can do it."
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat