Determining what position Landon Collins
plays for Dutchtown (Geismar, La.)
is much like trying to figure out which college he will attend.
There’s no easy answer and explanations are in order.
Collins considers safety first and foremost his favorite spot, although he also excels at linebacker and running back. Those three roles are two less than the number of colleges he’s considering.
Collins has yet to make an official visit and won’t do so until the weekend of Nov. 5 when he travels to Alabama for its game against LSU. Collins made an unofficial visit to LSU for its game against Florida on Oct. 8. In addition to the three aforementioned schools, Collins also has Texas and Tennessee on his short list of colleges. He plans to announce his choice at the Under Armour All-America Bowl on Jan. 5, 2012.
Whichever university lands Collins will get a 6-foot-1, 205-pound chiseled dynamo who is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of many.
“He’s just a special athlete," Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “He makes big things happen.”
From the time Collins walked on campus as a freshman, Saia said he could “just tell” that the Griffins had a gifted athlete in their midst. Just how much so has become evident this season with Collins contributing in so many ways to a campaign that has begun with six consecutive victories and a No. 2 ranking in Class 5A, the top classification in the state.
If Collins isn’t intercepting a pass, as he did against Lutcher, he’s rushing seven times for 94 yards and two touchdowns, as he also did against the Bulldogs.
He ran a season-high 12 times for 158 yards, including an 89-yard score, against Ascension Parish-rival St. Amant. He scored the five times he ran with the ball against Zachary, Saia said, although two were called back for illegal blocks after Collins already had blown past the defenders.
Collins “just started carrying the ball this year,” Saia said, and at the risk of wearing out his prized recruit, Saia said he tries “to spot” Collins throughout the course of the game.
For all Collins’ other exploits, that includes an average of nearly 20 yards per carry, safety is where he initially gained recognition and where most college coaches want him to play. Collins wants the same.
“I consider myself a safety,” he said. “I love it. You get to do it all. You hit anybody with the ball.”
Collins does the same at linebacker, but that’s merely an extension of his duties as a safety. The defensive formation often determines if Collins will stay in the backfield, Saia said, or “roll down” into a linebacker’s spot.
Wherever Collins might be, the opposition has found it difficult to handle someone that MaxPreps has ranked as the top prep safety in the nation
and the No. 9 overall recruit.
Beyond his innate talent, Collins has a work ethic and devotion to detail that enhances his performance. After Collins attended a camp at Alabama, Saia said coach Nick Saban called to say that Collins was “the hardest-working five-star recruit I’ve ever seen.”
This, too, from a coach who already has one Dutchtown graduate in redshirt sophomore running back Eddie Lacy. Eric Reid, another Dutchtown graduate, is a sophomore safety at LSU.
Collins has drawn comparisons to Washington Redskins safety LaRon Landry, Saban’s former recruit at LSU.
In any case, Collins said Lacy and Reid continue to text him on a weekly basis. Collins said Lacy and Reid taught him valuable lessons in how to conduct himself both on and off the field. As one of two permanent captains, Collins has tried to teach those same principles to his current teammates.
“Players come up to me and ask all kinds of questions,” he said. “I try to tell them right from wrong.”
Without a doubt, Collins also leads by example. He relishes competition and wants “to play against the best. In order to be the best, you have to play the best.”
To further his competitive edge, he constantly studies film. He routinely brings home a DVD from the coaches so as to study from his home computer the tendencies of upcoming foes.
For all the accolades and attention, Saia said Collins remains “a humble kid… He doesn’t expect anything special.”
That may have something to do with his background and what he’s endured. Collins was one of the many people displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Although he didn’t go back to see it, Collins said his parents told him their Port Sulphur home was split in two.
Collins said he was in middle school at the time when the family was uprooted from southeastern Louisiana. As high school approached, Collins said he considered two private schools in Baton Rouge but enjoyed his visit to Dutchtown so much that he stayed.
“I just loved it,” he said. “From that first day on the track, the players took me in.”
It was only a matter of time before Collins made a home, and a name, for himself.Watch more videos of Dutchtown football