On Monday night, LSU will face Alabama for the second time this season for the whole ball of wax, the BCS national title. While it's unprecedented for the two teams to face each other twice in the same season on the field, they battle each other multiple times daily in the world of high school recruiting.
While Les Miles has done a good job of building the proverbial fence around Louisiana, from time to time, a blue chip recruit from in state will decide to take his talents elsewhere.
The latest to do so? Geismar, Louisiana, safety (and perhaps the top safety in the country) Landon Collins.
Much to the chagrin of his mother.
It happened last night at the Under Armour All American game, which is (along with the U.S. Army All American game in San Antonio) one of the two biggest high school football all-star games in the country. Televised by ESPN, it's also a venue where several recruits will announce their college intentions.
Oftentimes, this process is accompanied by about a dozen relatives gathered around the recruit, a table with three or four hats in front of the recruit, and the requisite disrespectful "pump-fake grab at one hat before grabbing a different hat" for the recruit to announce his decision. (For the record, Collins decided to replace hats with receiving gloves as the sartorial prop of choice.)
So Landon Collins announced that he was going to attend college next fall at Alabama, with LSU as his runner-up. That's where the fun began! Watch the video, then we will break down the highlights chronologically
0:26 -- ESPN's Dari Nowkhah points out that Collins is from Geismar, Louisiana, which prompts Collins to interrupt Nowkhah and note that he is actually "from New Orleans." I'm not sure what's so bad about being from Geismar, but I kind of get this. People used to point out to me all the time that I was from Simsbury, Connecticut, and I would correct them and say, "Uh no, I'm from HARTFORD." Makes me seem more cosmopolitan. I get it, Landon.
0:46 -- Collins decides to attend "Roll Tide Roll," which prompts an uncomfortable "ooohhh" from Nowkhah, as if he knew something awkward had just happened. Why was it awkward? Well, let's continue....
0:52 -- The fairly attractive woman to Collins's right is his mother. The REALLY attractive woman standing behind Collins is his girlfriend Victoria. Notice shortly after Collins makes the announcement that his mother looks like she just found out a relative had passed away, and his girlfriend is the only one clapping. (Her clapping eventually initiates the smattering of applause among Collins's inner circle.) This is getting good....
1:10 -- After Collins tells us that he picked Alabama because he really clicked with the coaches and his future teammates, Nowkhah asks Collins's mother for her thoughts. She minces no words:
"I feel LSU is the better place for him to be. LSU Tigers number one. Go Tigers."
2:00 -- Landon Collins slips the Alabama hat on his head, and his mother is still in the shot, glaring at him like he just took a dump on her expensive Persian rug. She even looks at the camera, picks up the unused LSU gloves and waves them as if to say, "Pay no attention to the idiot that just chose Alabama....GEAUX TIGERS..."
So an 18-year-old made a decision that a parent disagrees with. Not the first time, not the last time that will happen, but it is the first time I've seen the parental disgust play out so publicly. And make no mistake, this NEEDS to happen more often at these all-star games. The "high schoolers picking their schools" has become unwatchable the last few years. Open dissension within the players' families would bring me back.
Meanwhile, LSU fans are left to wonder "How did this happen?" By all accounts, Collins was signed, sealed and delivered to LSU. If you watch closely, it really does appear that those around him are as much surprised as they are anything else.
If you're looking for an answer as to why any teenage boy makes the decisions he does, usually the answer can be traced back to a female. In this case, reportedly Collins's girlfriend Victoria is going to school in Alabama next year. How close are they? Well, go take a trip to their respective Twitter pages (@ALLAMERICAN_2 and @victoriaguyy). Their avatar pictures include each other, they re-tweet each other, and they publicly tell each other how much they miss each other. The only thing missing is the two of them calling each other "shmoopy."
In other words, it's pretty nauseating.
The good news for LSU fans is the verbal commitment Collins gave is as nonbinding as his relationship with Victoria, so if he changes his mind he can always go to LSU, a scenario on which I'd bet heavily if I could -- Mom always wins out.
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Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.