Editor’s Note: The original post said that Zach Collaros threw his last past on Dec. 4 2010 when Collaros actually played his final game during the 2011 Liberty Bowl, which the Bearcats won 31-24 against Vanderbilt. We apologize for the error, it was a terrible oversight on our part.
In Zach Collaros’ last season with the Cincinnati Bearcats he threw for just 1,940 yards and 15 touchdowns, although he did complete 61 percent of his passes. Still, he appeared to be set for stardom after flirting with 3,000 yards and piling up 26 scores in his junior season. But his draft stock fell despite UC’s co-Big East championship. It dropped so far that Collaros didn’t hear his named called in the 2012 NFL Draft.
He was still given a shot to make an NFL squad, but did not make the cut for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that summer. Soon after being released, he made the jump to Canada, signing with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. With Toronto, Collaros played as the understudy to CFL legend Ricky Ray during Toronto’s run to the 2012 Grey Cup. In 2013, he got a chance to show off his stuff, playing in 14 games, including seven starts, as Ray suffered an injury. Collaros did a nice job in his place, throwing for 2,316 yards and 16 touchdowns to just six picks while completing 190-of-287 pass attempts.
After 2013, Collaros decided to see what he could get as a free agent. In January of 2014, he signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. (Bearcats are still better, but Ti-Cats are OK too, I suppose). Collaros had a great start to his time with Hamilton. He piled up 3,261 yards and 15 touchdowns on 279-of-424 passing, while rushing for 246 yards and five scores in his first year. His work helped push the Ti-Cats to a 9-9 first place finish in the East Divsion and a spot in the 102nd Grey Cup against the Calgary Stampeders, whom the Ti-Cats had faced and lost to in the CFL title game the previous year. Unfortunately, the addition of Collaros did not change the result, as Calgary claimed a 20-16 victory.
Hamilton hit the ground running in 2015, going 8-3 through the first 11 games while Collaros led the CFL in passing yards (3,376), touchdowns (25) and passer rating (113.7). However, in a September matchup with the Edmonton Eskimos, a torn ACL forced him to the sideline for the rest of the campaign.
The injury has taken some time to recover from, as Hamilton had to start the 2016 season without their star signal caller. However, the Ti-Cats front office must believe he will be just fine, as Collaros signed a contract extension earlier this week that will keep him in Hamilton until 2018.