He previously played on Survivor: San Juan del Sur, which was season 29 and the second “Blood vs. Water” season; Jeremy played that season alongside his wife, Val. He then returned to the game for Survivor: Cambodia, the 31st season of the show, and the one called “Second Chances”; that was the season Collins won.
Here’s what you need to know about Collins contestant.
1. Jeremy Played Professional Football (But Not College Football)
One thing Collins is particularly proud of is that he played professional football in the Professional Indoor Football League without ever having played in college. Instead, he was a track star for the University of Rhode Island and then went on to play wide receiver for the New England Surge, the Continental Indoor Football League team based in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Collinsran track for the URI Rams from 1996 to 2000 where he was twice named the Atlantic 10 Indoor Track and Field Most Outstanding Performer (1997, 1999) and earned eight different titles over his career. Jeremy also held six different URI records at one time and still holds the A-10 conference record for the 400-meter sprint with a time of 47.5 seconds.
In one memorable 2008 indoor professional football game, Collins’ team the Surge scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to upset the Flint Phantoms. At the time, Collins told the Worcester Telegram, “We’re always in the game, and this is arena football, so anything can happen at any time. No matter how much you’re up, it’s never safe. Things happen so fast in this game.”
2. He and Val Have Four Children
Collins and Val met in 2000 and were married five years later. They have four children: daughter Jordyn, 18, daughter Camryn, almost 14, son Remy, 4, and son Lenyx, 2.
Remy was actually born just days after Collins was crowned the Sole Survivor of the “Second Chances” season. After the finale, Collins told The Sun Chronicle that he was constantly worried about his pregnant wife at home when they were filming that season, so when she was there for his loved ones visit during the season, his “emotions came out” and he had to try hard not to cry, especially when she whispered in his ear that they were having a boy.
Then just 18 months later, they welcomed their fourth child, which they told People completed their tribe.
“Val is excited to complete our tribe after having two daughters close in age, and now two sons a year apart. She can’t wait to see the change in dynamics in the Collins household!” Collins told People.
3. Jeremy is a Firefighter and Val Is a Police Officer
In addition to being Survivor stars, Jeremy and Val are first-responders in the Foxborough, Massachusetts area. Collins has worked for the Cambridge Fire Fighters Local 30 since 2000 in the Tower Ladder 2 unit.
Val has worked for the Foxborough Police Department since 2011. Over the years, she has filed three lawsuits against the department alleging she was passed over for a promotion in favor of other officers who scored lower than she did on the Civil Service exam.
Larry Ellison, president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, told The Sun Chronicle in August 2018 that when an opening for sergeant came up, Val was passed over by a white, male officer whose Civil Service exam scores were lower than Val’s scores (Val earned the second-highest score). In November 2018, Val was promoted to sergeant and made a patrol supervisor.
4. Jeremy Is Part of an Elite Survivor Club
When Collins won Survivor, he became just the fourth winner to receive a unanimous jury vote for the ultimate prize. His predecessors include Earl Cole, J.T. Thomas, and John Cochran, none of whom are appearing on “Winners at War.” Since Collins won, one other winner has won unanimously — Adam Klein, who won “Millennials vs. Gen X.” Collins also didn’t have any votes cast against him during the season that counted (because he played a hidden immunity idol to nullify them).
After his win, he told People that he didn’t really think he was ever in danger of going home.
“I thought I had a good rapport with everybody. I had gone into the game and went to everybody and told them that I had their back. I wanted them to be loyal. I said, ‘If your name comes up, I’ll let you know, if you’ll do the same for me.’ I never heard my name come up, so I felt pretty good,” said Collins, adding, ” I don’t think I was [ever in danger], but maybe something happened that I didn’t know about. I felt like I had my finger on the pulse of this game. The one time that I went to tribal council that I didn’t know who was going to go home was when Spencer flipped and got Stephen out. But even then, I knew something was wrong. I just didn’t know what it was. But my name hadn’t come up, so I knew I was safe. But I told Stephen, ‘Something’s wrong. You’d better get your head in the game. Something’s going crazy.'”
He also told People that they were definitely going to use the winnings to make sure their children have money for college.
“Well, now I’ll have three kids, so the first thing I’ll do is put money away for their college,” said Collins at the time. “That’s the top priority. After that, I want to take Val on vacation. She really deserves it. There are a lot of things that I’ll do with the money, but it will be all about helping my family.
5. Jeremy Says He’s Expecting Plenty of Twists and Turns This Season
In a pre-“Winners at War” interview with Xfinity, Collins says he expects host Jeff Probst to throw twists at them constantly.
“I think Jeff is going to throw everything at us. I expect a curveball every single day,” says Collins, adding, “I’m expecting a twist all the time, so when there is a twist I’m not thrown for a loop.”
He also says the people who have played more than once will have an advantage because seasons like this tend to move at a break-neck pace.
“In an all-star season, right when you jump on the beach…it’s craziness. My first season was slow. All-star seasons are fast. And people who won their first time playing, they don’t know that. They’re not ready for that. There’s a lot of people out here who have played many times and it’s a total, different season.”
Survivor: Winners at War airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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