If confidence were built on scholarship offers, Jalen Collins might have felt out of place when defensive backs coach Ron Cooper worked with the top cornerbacks during an afternoon session at the LSU Elite Camp last Sunday.
One of the most touted names on hand was David Jenkins, a Jena, La. native who recently moved to Hebron, Texas. In hopes of landing multiple defensive backs in the 2011 class, the Tigers – knowing that Jenkins was sitting on scholarships from the likes of Texas - pressed with the red-carpet treatment.
Ronald Martin, a White Castle, La. native who became the camp’s lone pledge, was also in the group. So was four-star Charles Jackson, ranked as the nation’s No. 16 cornerback by Scout.com. Even East St. John’s Floyd Raven was on hand, though much of the cornerback prospect’s time was spent on the sidelines as he nursed a hamstring injury.
Still, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Collins – who had received virtually no serious attention from college coaches up to that point – was able to stand out from the pack.
“I just gave it my all, and after the two days that I camped the coaches were impressed enough to offer,” said Collins of his LSU stay. “Coach (Les) Miles brought me into his office and said that they wanted to have me. They really loved my size, especially since I could move so well. They said they didn't see anything that would hold them back, so that was a great moment for me. That first big break was what I was looking for.”
Collins recently transferred from DeSoto High to Olive Branch (Miss), where this fall the rising senior prospect will play his first season of football with the Conquistadors.
During the National 7-on-7 in Hoover, Ala. this past weekend Collins stood out as one of the camp’s top defensive prospects. During one of Olive Branch’s marquee matchups Collins got the best of Hoover High standout Jaylon Denson, who recently jumped on board with Auburn.
As the Magnolia State standout’s process heats up, it becomes more evident that the Tiger staff could have landed a diamond in the rough when they found Collins. And if things continue as planned, a decision that brings the Mississippi native into the Bayou State could come soon.
“I am thinking that I could go ahead and commit before too long,” Collins said. “Coach Cooper and coach Miles both really liked me, and LSU is a tough scholarship to turn down. Right now they are way out front for me.”