Nathan Fuqua was an all-state defensive lineman at Danville High School who knew a lot about the University of Kentucky football program.
Fuqua, a 1999 Danville graduate, went to Wofford to play and was four-time All-Southern Conference nose guards and two All-American including first team in 2002. He joined the Wofford coaching staff in 2005 and that’s the role he had when he first met new British defensive backs coach Chris Collins.
âI recruited him for Wofford. He went to Western Carolina, but we played against him, âsaid Fuqua, now Georgia State Defensive Coordinator.
Collins followed the same path as Fuqua and began his college coaching career at his alma mater in 2010. Fuqua crossed paths with Collins during the recruitment process. Collins wept for a year as a defensive assistant coach in Appalachian State under defensive coordinator Fuqua, for whom he played at Wofford.
âWhen I got the opportunity to come to Georgia State and bring a new man with me, I knew his background and person. I knew I wanted to give him this opportunity to be on my staff, âsaid Fuqua. âIt was really great to have him in my foxhole with me and watch him grow and bloom.
âAt some point, the more connections he made and the more successful he was, that some teams wanted him. But you want young people to work for you who are successful and do great things, and he has and will continue to do so. “
When former UK employee Brian Landis, now Georgia State linebackers coach, found out that coach Mark Stoops had a place for a defensive back coach, he recommended Collins.
“I thought it was going to happen,” said Fuqua. âI know he wasted no time searching Coach Landis for residential areas, and he knows (linebacker coach) Jon Sumrall and (defense coordinator) Brad White. We were there last year and talked to the guys about ball. “
Here’s a little irony – Collins’ Western Carolina position coach during his playing career was Steve Clinkscale, the defensive back coach who left the UK for Michigan. Now Collins has his former coach’s job.
“It’s kind of cool how that worked,” said Fuqua. âClinkscale did a great job and was a good guy, but Chris is a good match for Sumrall and these guys. It will be fun to see them together. ‘
Fuqua’s brother Ben is the men’s golf coach in Kentucky.
âI’m going to get my brother to give him (Collins) golf lessons too. He needs them, âsaid Nathan Fuqua.
Collins has nothing against a playful trick from Nathan Fuqua. He sees him as a mentor.
“He’s made a huge impact on my life,” said Collins. âHe recruited me when I got out of high school. He’s a great guy and I really enjoyed working with him. “
Nathan Fuqua knows Collins is entering a secondary school that got players into the NFL and is one of the best in the Southeastern Conference. He believes Collins will be good at both coaching and the recruiting path. Collins was the Georgia state recruiting coordinator and earned Fuqua’s respect.
âHe has really good communication on and off the pitch. He can identify with a lot of people, âsaid the Georgia state defense coordinator. âHe has some good recruiting relationships in Georgia and made some good connections for us in South Florida. He has this North Carolina background that helps him recruit there. He just does a really good job at everything he does. He’ll be great in Kentucky. I hated losing him, but I’m also very happy for him. “