For Dutchtown High football star Landon Collins it was a case of déj? vu from a different viewpoint.
Collins received his official invitation to play in the 2012 Under Armour All-American Bowl on Jan. 5, complete with a jersey, during a ceremony held in the Dutchtown cafeteria on Thursday morning.
“It was a tremendous feeling when I put this jersey over my head,” Collins said. “Julio Jones wore this jersey. A couple of other great players wore this jersey. Now I’m going to be following in their footsteps.”
Another player the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Collins admires was in the crowd. Former Dutchtown High standout Eric Reid, a now a safety for LSU, was among the well-wishers on hand.
Collins said he remembers a similar ceremony held for Reid two years ago. At that ceremony, Reid received his invitation to play in another national all-star game, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“I stood right there,” Collins said pointing to the area in front of the tables and microphone. “I stood behind the cameras. It was a great feeling to have him (Reid) here. We played together for two years. I’ve seen all his games, and he’s seen mine.”
The selection makes Collins Dutchtown’s second prep All-American in three years, joining Reid. He is the second local player in as many years selected to play in the Under Armour game. LSU freshman La’El Collins, a former Redemptorist standout, played last year. The game is set for Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla. This was the first year bowl representatives have presented jersies to players.
As a senior, Collins ran for 1,218 yards on 89 carries and scored 21 touchdowns in his first season starting running back for the Griffins.
Considered to be Louisiana’s top prospect in the 2012 recruiting class as a safety, Collins also had 34 tackles, 11 assists, four tackles for loss and four interceptions. He returned two of those interceptions for TDs, helping the Griffins to their second straight 10-0 regular season and a District 5-5A title before last week’s first-round playoff loss to Ponchatoula.
Dutchtown High coach Benny Saia recounted the list of other top players the 10-year-old school has had, including current Alabama running back Eddie Lacy and Kelvin York, a Southern Cal commitment now playing at a junior college in California.
“What a great short history we’ve had,” Saia said. “You just want to see good people have good things happen for them. That’s what it’s all about.
“And that’s certainly the case with Landon. He’s a great young man and a credit to our program.”