Collins chooses Alabama over LSU
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The most anticipated commitment at Thursday's Under Armour All-America Game certainly didn't go off without a hitch. In fact, five-star safety Landon Collins and family provided one of the most awkward moments in the game's five-year history.
Choosing between LSU and Alabama, the Geismar, La., native took to the stand in the fourth quarter. The nation's third-ranked prospect then picked the Crimson Tide -- offering "Roll Tide, Roll" -- and drawing the subsequent ire of his mother. Following the announcement, she said that Baton Rouge was a more fitting college destination for her son.
It was to no avail: The 6-foot, 202-pound Collins declared his intent to Nick Saban and Co. in Tuscaloosa. It could cause major implications on the SEC hierarchy as early as next season.
"I just felt more at home there," he said of his decision. "I just wanted to get out of Louisiana. I made up my mind two years ago that I would go to Alabama. I just never had the chance [to commit] since my parents wanted me to do it on national TV. I never told the coaches, they just watched it on TV."
The decision secured an Alabama recruitng coup, as it already added four-star Baltimore-area athlete Cyrus Jones earlier in the evening. A silent commit to Alabama for more than a month, the 5-foot-10, 195-pounder went public with his pledge during Thursday's action.
Ranked as the nation's 93rd prospect -- and serving as the reigning Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year -- Jones will play receiver for Alabama instead of for his other finalist, Virginia Tech.
• Ole Miss boosted its class in a big way in the second quarter, landing homegrown defensive end Channing Ward. Ward collected 128 tackles and 10 sacks as a senior at Aberdeen (Miss.), and selected the Rebels over in-state rival Mississippi State.
• Maryland kept one of its top local talents in-state, securing running back Wes Brown out of Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.). Brown picked the Terrapins over finalists Miami and Vanderbilt after showing renewed interest in the program following the hire of offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. He also considered Colorado, Florida State and Georgia Tech, among others.
• South Carolina plucked one of the top uncommitted prospects in landing Banneker (Ga.) safety Chaz Elder. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound safety selected the Gamecocks over Georgia and Vanderbilt. The three-star prospect also held offers to Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Ohio State and Purdue.
• East Carolina snagged a surprise commitment by locking up three-star safety Lucas Thompson out of West Orange (Fla.). Thompson chose the Pirates over Miami after the Hurricanes reportedly shied away due to academic concerns.