January 3, 2012

Collins split between Tide, Tigers

Five-star safety Landon Collins says he's ready to make his commitment final Thursday night at the Under Armour All-America Game.

Collins, who spoke with coaching staffs from the University of Alabama and LSU before leaving for Orlando earlier this week, said he's "80 percent" sure which school he will choose at the game.

"I talked to Coach (Burton) Burns and Coach (Nick) Saban," Collins said. "Saban was just telling me to have fun out there. It's a great experience. He was saying, 'You know how much you mean to our team. We love you no matter what. Alabama is going to be home to you.'"

As the Crimson Tide and the Tigers prepare to face off in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9, one will score a huge victory over the other on the recruiting trail Thursday when Collins picks his
future destination.

The Louisiana native spoke to TideSports.com this week about his two finalists.

"When I step on the (Alabama) campus, when I go to the school, no matter what, I feel at home," Collins said. "It feels like a quiet place for me. That's what I've grown up under, a quiet home. I didn't really do too much. I stayed to myself, and that's how I like to be. I also love the coaching staff and the boys that I talk to up there.

"(LSU) is five minutes away from home. My parents can come see my anytime they want. I grew up with some of the kids that are committed there. The coaching staff is fantastic, and I'd be playing behind Eric Reid all next year, and that's one of my best friends. I grew up wanting to play just like him."

Two weeks ago, Coach Saban made a final visit with Collins at his home in Geismar, La., in an attempt to sway him toward the Tide. The UA head coach made a stop by his high school first, surprising everyone, including Collins.

"Really, I didn't even know he was at the school," Collins said. "It was 9 a.m., he wasn't even at the school, but people still knew he was coming before I even did.

"Him coming to the school was exciting. Everybody was kind of nervous because it was Nick Saban, but we just went into the assistant principal's office, we just talked about nothing but football, about the zone, the coverage I'm going to play at if I come to Alabama."

If Collins chooses Alabama, the UA coaching staff has some packages on defense that could get him on the field as a freshman. Saban said Collins could play the 'Star' position in the Crimson Tide's nickel defense.

"That could get me on the field early because they see that I'm a quick learner and I know the package already," Collins said. "Everybody wants to play early, but it doesn't really matter to me."

This week at the Under Armour game, Collins is working out at his natural safety position for Team Highlight (Black). He is playing alongside Eddie Goldman and Jordan Jenkins, two more Tide targets.

With his decision looming, Collins has been hearing from both Alabama and LSU commits throughout the week.

"A lot of Alabama guys have been talking to me -- Eddie Williams, Reggie Ragland," Collins said. "They're saying, 'You know where you need to come. It's 'roll tide roll', that's where you need to be at.'"

After he makes his decision, Collins said he plans to return to Louisiana where he will attend the BCS title game and watch his two finalists play for a championship.

"I can't give you a prediction, but I don't think it will be as low scoring again because I think they got something for each other," Collins said. "They have the packages ready for that game because they've had more time to prepare."

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