Publisher's Notes: Every weekday until the LSU football team reports for Fall Camp on Sunday, Aug. 4, TSD will unveil another player in our top 50 Tigers for the 2013 season. We arrived at this list by combining individual rankings from TSD's Austin Cooper, Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua. For example, a player who received a No. 1 vote got 50 points, a No. 2 vote got 49 points, and so on. Every player who received votes had his points totaled across all three individual lists, and the result was our final TSD ranking. All players, including incoming signees, were eligible for selection.
No. 6 – OT La'el Collins
Making the move from left guard, where he played his first two years at LSU, back to left tackle, where he played his days as a prep All-American, hasn't tempered excitement or expectations for La'el Collins. The highest-rated offensive lineman on TSD's top 50 countdown, Collins has played in 20 career games in TigerTown, starting all 13 a season ago. According to LSUsports.net, he has played 882 career snaps and accumulated 69.5 knockdowns.
Collins, 6-foot-5 and 321 pounds, is more than just a big body as he showed repeatedly in 2012. He was used often as a pulling guard in LSU's physical downhill rushing attack. That quickness and ability to move his feet will be paramount in his new endeavor protecting Zach Mettenberger's blindside. Time will tell how well Collins makes the adjustment, but his experience, ability and the importance of the new position he's playing make him a pretty important piece to the puzzle for LSU in 2013.
By The Numbers
Collins' highest ranking: 4th
Collins' lowest ranking: 9th
Why this ranking is too high
Even though Collins did play left tackle at Redemptorist High School, he hasn't had a taste yet of what that's like on the collegiate level in the SEC. And given LSU's noted struggles in the first half of last season and in the bowl game against speed pass rushers, Collins is biting off a lot in terms of responsibility this fall. There's just an element of unknown anytime a player makes a big position move without any experience under his belt there.
Why this ranking is too low
Collins showed a ton of durability in his sophomore campaign, starting all 13 games and proving to be one of LSU's most effective run blockers, whether over his left side or pulling out to the right. He's also got ideal size for an offensive lineman and has better feet than many of the guys at his position too. If he can improve on his pass-blocking game, Collins could legitimately be one of the top two or three players on the team and a possible NFL Draft entrant next April.
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View TSD's Top 50 to date
No. 6 - La'el Collins
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