Getting to Know: Jalen Collins

2011 signee Jalen Collins recaps his process and takes a look into his future in Baton Rouge.

Name: Jalen Collins

Height and Weight: 6-2, 185

City, State: Olive Branch, Mississippi

Senior Stats: 45 tackles, 11 deflections, three interceptions, two for touchdowns. Blocked some field goals. Four catches for 160 yards.

Scholarship Offers: LSU

Reporting on… “I will be there on June 2. I hadn’t packed my stuff up yet, but I will soon. My farewell is coming. We are having a graduation party after we walk for graduation on Saturday. I have lots of family that is coming in from up north. It’s going to be a fun way to say goodbye.”

Major… “I still haven’t decided yet. I had talked to some people and they told me sports management or business management would be a good road to go down, but I have time. First I just want to get down there and settled in. Then I will figure things out.”

Living situation… “I guess I hadn’t decided that yet either, or at least the coaches haven’t let us know for certain who will be in our rooms. We have all talked about it though. (Barbe High quarterback) Jared Foster and I got close, so I might be with him.”

Moving programs in high school… “I was at DeSoto High here in Mississippi, then moved not too far to Olive Branch High. I figured it was just a better spot for me to be in with football and everything, and I enjoyed it. I played well and got to play in some big games and get to some good camps – 7-on-7s and stuff like that. In the end there were no regrets.”

Summer camp pays off… “I earned my offer and committed by going to LSU’s two summer camps, so that was the big turning point in my whole process. It started in the very beginning of summer, towards end of school, when I went to a Junior Day at LSU with a friend. I met [defensive backs] coach [Ron] Cooper and he told me to come to camp. I got home and he sent me a flyer and all that. Next thing I knew, I was a Tiger.”

How it played out… “First I came to the June camp, and I can say that I did well. But to be honest I felt like I did better in the second camp in July, because I knew how things were going to be that time around. The receivers and other defensive backs that were fighting for offers also challenged me. I was hoping for one, but wasn’t sure. Then on the last day of camp in July coach Cooper came and talked to my mom and me and said Miles wanted to see us. We went up to his office and that’s how it happened. I accepted on the spot.”

On the first offer being the biggest… “Since I was at DeSoto, not a lot of people knew about me. It was the summer that I was transferring into Olive Branch, and LSU was really the only school pressing me to get to camp. I came down and coach Cooper sort of grabbed me up, and I really didn’t waver from there. I thought it was crazy that I because I was a small town kid from a small school who was sitting in Les Miles’ office talking about a college scholarship. I couldn’t turn away from that.”

Rumor central… “When things got to the end, like in December and January right before Signing Day, I started hearing people saying that I was thinking of switching to one of the in-state schools. They would just come up and ask me. I had no clue where they heard it from. So I went online and read about it on different websites, and I just kind of laughed it off really. I mean other coaches were calling and asking me what was up, but I always let everyone know that I was sticking with LSU.”

Height to boot… “I am at 6-foot-2 now, and that’s what the coaches really liked when they saw me play cornerback. It was funny because I came down to the spring game and thought that I was big, but then I saw [LSU cornerback] Tharold Simon [6-foot-4] and couldn’t believe it. He definitely has me beat.”

Thoughts on spring game… “I really liked what I saw from the defensive backs. It looked like coach Cooper had them playing as well as they were during the season. Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold and those young guys can really get after it, and that has me excited for this coming season. I don’t really have expectations for getting playing time, because my motto is just to work and help the team however I can. But I definitely look at how many young guys they played and get excited about my chances.”

Friends from the signing class… “Being that I was from out of state and not one of the Louisiana boys, I had to meet everyone during the home games. But I picked good atmospheres to be with them during games. I was at Tennessee, the Homecoming Game, and Alabama. They were wild. People were screaming and throwing drinks at the end, so it was a good experience.”

Reactions from the group… “All of us are excited about getting to town and helping this team. I think what really gets us pumped is hearing from the current players. I have talked to some of them recently and they are all talking about going to New Orleans next January. The National Championship is the goal we have on our minds. And LSU has that tradition of getting to New Orleans for the big game.”

Progress with LSU strength and conditioning coordinator Tommy Moffitt’s workout program… “I have been hitting that book pretty hard. It wears me out. I am feeling the effects, especially after also coming off surgery. I had fractured my foot in a basketball game after the season, so then I lost like 10 pounds after the surgery. So I put all that back on, and now I am up to 185 pounds and my foot has completely healed. My final check up is this week. Then I will really hit the workout plan.”

Being part of “The Fam”… “I know all the Louisiana guys started that and their little group became the original Fam, but I felt like in the end it fit for all of us. I ended up going up against Ron Martin and David Jenkins in camp for an offer at defensive back, and none of us knew each other. In the end we all got offered and committed, so we got close from then on. Now we are like brothers, for sure.”

Favorite activity away from the football field… It would probably be watching movies and gaming. I love to play some Call of Duty: Black Ops.”

Pro team… “I like the [Atlanta] Falcons. I like the [Houston] Rockets in basketball even though they are struggling. Michael Vick got me on the Falcons and I stuck with them. Now I like Roddy White. He’s a receiver I would want to try and hold (laughing).”

Secret talent… “I can cook. I cook all the time. Whenever I feel like it, I hit the kitchen and whip up something.”

Hottest Celebrity… “Jessica Alba.”

Nickname… “Up here in Mississippi everyone calls me Mr. LSU. I guess I got to hold on to that.”

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