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Collaros headed to Tampa

April 29, 2012
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Zach Collaros is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

The Steubenveille Big Red graduate and University of Cincinnati quarterback found an NFL destination not long after the NFL Draft ended in New York Saturday night.

"It was right after the draft, minutes after the draft," Collaros said about the phone call from the Tampa Bay brass to be a member of the Buccaneers.

Article Photos

Ron Gardner
TAMPA BOUND — Cincinnati’s Zach Collaros looks to make a pass during the 2011 football season. Collaros, a Steubenville Big Red graduate, signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent Saturday.

"Obviously, I wanted to be drafted. You want to hear your name. It would have just been cool."

Instead, Collaros is heading south to a place a lot warmer than Steubenville or Cincinnati and a place without snow.

The Buccaneers are coming off a brutal year, losing 10 in a row, thus meaning a new coaching staff is in place.

Josh Freeman is obviously the starter and they signed Dan Orlovsky to be the back-up. But, expect Collaros to be in a battle with Brett Ratliffe for the No. 3 position. Ratliff is a four-year player out of Utah.

"I am just excited to go down there and compete," said Collaros. "I have been getting calls from their quarterbacks coach and scouts and I thought that's where I would end up if I wasn't drafted.

"It's where I want to be and I am excited for the opportunity. Plus, it has great weather."

Collaros finished his career as quarterback as the Bearcats' quarterback completing 62 percent of his 783 passes for 6,272 yards, 51 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.

He also ran the ball 268 times for 809 yards and 16 scores.

The 2006 Steubenville Big Red graduate started 21 of the Bearcats' last 24 games. He missed three last last year because of a broken ankle suffered at Paul Brown Stadium against West Virginia University.

He was 30-1 as a starting quarterback for head coach Reno Saccoccia, winning 30 in a row and the Division III state championships in 2005 and 2006. He was Ohio's Division III Player of the Year his senior year.

Collaros was named to the EA Sports All-American Third Team after completing 68 percent (136-of-201) of his pass attempts for 2,550 yards, 30 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

He also accrued 720 rushing yards, including 15 scores. Collaros was also a two-way player, who compiled three returns for touchdowns as a senior. He broke every Big Red passing record at the time.

"We had been talking to a couple of teams, but Tampa had shown a lot of interest as of late," Collaros said.

"We had enough interest from teams that we thought I would get a shot somewhere. Tampa Bay is the right fit. And, like I said, I am going to go down there and work hard."

Collaros led Cincinnati to a 69-38 win over Rutgers his junior year. He was 23 of 39 for 366 yards, throwing for four touchdowns and running for another. The Bearcats picked up 661 yards, the second-most in school history.

Coaching Rutgers was Greg Schiano, Collaros' new head coach with the Buccaneers.

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