Collins Has Chance To Make Big Plays

To say that Landon Collins was in a contentious recruiting battle between LSU and Alabama is an understatement. The Geismar, La., native was ranked the number two safety in the nation when he finished at Dutchtown High School, the five-star prospect finally cast his lot with the Crimson Tide.

Landon Collins, a 6-0, 215-pound sophomore at Alabama, has a healthy perspective on his recruiting process. "It was the best two teams in the nation," he said, which was certainly true, as Bama defeated LSU for the national championship at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans a month before signing day. "I made the best decision for myself and I'm doing great where I am."

That's true, too.

Collins started two games at safety (Georgia State and Kentucky) when Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix was suspended, then moved back to his natural strong safety spot to start the last two games ((Arkansas and Tennessee) following the season-ending injury to Vinnie Sunseri.

He is Alabama's second-leading tackler, behind C.J. Mosley, with 28 primary stops and six assists. He's the Tide's leader in passes broken up with five and has two quarterback pressures and a tackle for loss. He's also caused a fumble.

And, oh yes, he had an interception against Tennessee, which he returned 89 yards for a touchdown.

Collins spouts the company line, that this week's game against 10th-ranked LSU is "just another week, another game coming ahead. We're doing the best we can do. That's about it."

And he didn't back down.

"It's a big game," he admitted, but added, "It's another game to me. For me, coming from the home state, it's always a big game. But I just take it as another game, another opportunity to be great."

Last year Collins was used primarily on special teams in Bama's 21-17 come-from-behind win over LSU in Baton Rouge. He assisted on a tackle. He was also "just hoping that we'd win."

This year he'll play a major role, but, he said, "It's not different. Now it's a bigger opportunity to make more plays than I did last year."

Alabama and LSU will square off in Bryant-Denny Stadium at 7 p.m. CST Saturday. CBS will televise the game. No. 1 ranked Bama is 8-0 (5-0 in Southeastern Conference games) and LSU is 7-2, 3-2 in league contests.

Both teams are coming off bye weeks. Collins took advantage of the open date to go home and watch his brother play high school football. Although he said he was "incognito," wearing only a long-sleeve while Alabama pullover as a giveaway, he said people recognized him and that his friends "are cheering me on."

Most of them.

Among old friends he ran into was Dwayne Thomas, a sophomore cornerback at LSU. "He told me on punt – when we're punting the ball – he said, ‘Guess who's going to be in front of you?' I said, ‘Who?' He said, ‘Me. I'm sticking you, too.' I said, ‘Okay, we'll see.'" Collins added, "I know a lot of their players. I grew up with half of them. From Pop (Warner) ball through high school with half of them. So I know a lot of them."

Collins said he grew up watching Alabama-LSU games, and attended a couple of them as a prospect. "Tremendous games," he said. "it's always going to be like that between those two teams."

Collins knows the challenge of good wide receivers, a good quarterback, "and their run game is tremendous."

He said, "We just have to stay settled and watch our keys."

And a key to victory, he said, will be good performance by the defense on third downs. "That's what we preach," he said, "getting off the field, saving our legs, and getting our offense the ball back as quick as possible and getting some points on the board."

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