Thomas Collins recalls a day at the park when his 4-year-old son wanted to play football with some older boys. At first, he was reluctant to say yes.
As the game progressed, one boy broke free and was running for an apparent touchdown. Everyone gave up, except a determined Landon Collins, who eventually grabbed the boy’s leg to make the tackle.
Fast forward to 2011 and now there are different groups, including recruiters and fans, looking to grab onto any information they can about the recruitment of the Dutchtown High football standout.
Considered Louisiana’s top recruit in the class of 2012 and one of the top safety prospects in the nation, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Collins saw his high school career and season end when the Griffins lost in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs to Ponchatoula.
Now, the recruiting season is in high gear. To date, Collins has made one official visit. That was to Alabama on Nov. 5 for the LSU-Alabama game.
Collins told reporters on hand for a ceremony announcing his selection to play in the Under Armour All-American Bowl on Thursday that he plans to make his official visit to LSU this week in conjunction with the Tigers’ key Southeastern Conference clash with Arkansas. He also said he plans to make official visits to two other schools — Texas and Tennessee — in December.
“It’s a big game, and I like going to big games,” Collins said with a smile when asked about his official visit to LSU.
Collins plans to announce his college choice during the Under Armour game Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Under Armour game will be notable for LSU for at least four other reasons besides the fact that Collins and other top recruits are scheduled to participate. Four of LSU’s 20 commitments for 2012 are set to play and participate in several days of practices before that at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
That list includes West St. John defensive lineman Ronnie Feist and Ely-Pompano Beach, Fla., and wide receiver Avery Johnson, the younger brother of former LSU star Patrick Peterson, who played at Redemptorist High as a freshman. Two Buford, Ga.-based players, linemen Vadal Alexander and Reid Ferguson, are also set to play in the game.
Collins said the Crimson Tide made a positive impression that included some one-on-one time with Alabama coach Nick Saban.
Tennessee’s inclusion into the group of finalists might surprise some. Collins said the Vols were one of the first schools to express a keen interest in him, offering a scholarship after his sophomore season.
Tennessee defensive backs coach-recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph is a New Orleans native like Collins, whose family came to the Baton Rouge area following Hurricane Katrina. Joseph, who coached on the high school level at Archbishop Shaw and Destrehan, is the brother of Mickey Joseph, who coached locally at Desire Street Academy.
Of course, LSU has its connections, too.
Tigers recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson is also a New Orleans native and was a successful coach at O. Perry Walker. Plus, Collins, who has attended all LSU home games this fall on unofficial visits, is close to former Dutchtown teammate Eric Reid, now a safety for the Tigers.
Collins commented on how great the atmosphere is at LSU. When asked about his recruitment process and his college choice, he noted, “I’d say everybody is even right now.”