AN AMERICAN footballer has put his impressive form this season down to Irish dancing.
Alex Collins, a running back with the Baltimore Ravens, currently tops the table for yards per carry and is seventh for rushing yards overall.
And the secret to his success? Irish dancing.
The 210lb star has been quickstepping since 2011, when he was taught by the daughter of his high school football teacher.
“It is all about rhythm and timing in Irish dance, and so it is for the running back as well,” Collins said previously.
“Here I am always on my toes, and I really love it because it builds my lower body muscles and my calf muscles.
“I am more explosive on the field. As a running back you want to have that lower body strength and that footwork, and this is perfect place to get it.”
On Thursday Collins impressed again as his side won 40-0 against the Miami Dolphins, a game which saw him run 113 yards for 18 carries – almost equalling his total from his entire rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks in 2016 (125 yards).
It's been a whirlwind few weeks for the 23-year-old, who was signed for the Ravens' practice squad in early September after being released by the Seahawks.
He was quickly promoted to the first team and has been taking the league by storm since his debut against the Cleveland Browns little over a month ago.
Now the football star has become an inspiration to Irish dancers, after meeting a young fan who was being bullied for taking up dancing.
After first connecting on social media, where Collins offered 12-year-old dancer Carl Tubbs words of encouragement, the pair met after the Ravens’ game with the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Collins gave the youngster signed footballs and told him: “I want to let you know I’m proud of you, I’m going to be following your career.”
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 23, 2017
Judging by his impressive form this year and the reaction to his fancy footwork, perhaps it won’t long before Irish dancing is included in the training regime of NFL teams!
@john_jastremski john Alex Collins? How come nobody in the league wanted this guy! Aka the Irish dance warrior! Man played great at Arkansas
— Jamal hicksville (@jamal_napoleon) October 27, 2017
Dude.... Alex Collins is officially my favorite player after watching him Irish dance
— Jay (@JayBeans15) October 27, 2017
"THAT'S WHY YOU IRISH DANCE!!!" - Romo on Alex Collins
Mark that down in things I never thought I'd hear during an NFL game.
— Kalyn Kahler (@kalynkahler) October 27, 2017
I need an Alex Collins TD. Wanna see that Irish dance TD celebration.
— BUCKET (@BUCKET_M23) October 27, 2017
— Michael O'Brien (@DrMocarl) October 27, 2017
Alex Collin$ Irish dancing through that Dolphins defense
— Dame (@DamStone) 27 October 2017