Zaven Collins: A Good Guy from the Middle of Nowhere

You don’t get to choose where you come from. In turn, you don’t get to choose who represents your hometown. 

For Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins and the town of Hominy, Oklahoma, they didn’t get to choose each other but they’re sure glad they are linked together. 

Hominy’s two big drivers are the oil industry and the prison right outside of town. The population sits around 3,000-3,500. The city has a community that perfectly embodies the adage “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Raised by a fiercely loyal single mother, Zaven grew up in a circle that lifted him up and helped him find success in the classroom and on the field, court and track. 

Together, they battled the stigma of “a small-school football star” to get a scholarship at the University of Tulsa. Once he got to college, Zaven found the same supportive community he had growing up and thrived on his way to being a first-round selection by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

Though he’s now in the desert under the brightest lights football can offer, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from and who he represents. No matter what he accomplishes in the NFL, he just wants to be remembered as “a good guy from the middle of nowhere.”

Photo & Video courtesy: Tulsa Athletics, Learfield/Tulsa, KPHO/Arizona’s Family, Haley Collins, The Owens Family, Caleb Christian, Associated Press

Mixing his passions for sports and storytelling, Jordan comes to Sports360az as a multimedia reporter/producer looking to share the best stories Arizona has to offer. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @JordyHamm