When Mom’s and Commitments Don’t Mix: The Landon Collins Issue

If you are a recruitingnik,  by now you have dug deep into the Landon Collins drama.  Collins announced his college intentions at the Under Armour All-American game earlier this month.  What is typically a joyous event for player and family alike,  punctuated with hugs and tears was anything but.

Collins’ choice of the Crimson Tide hat was greeted with a sigh, head drop and hand over face by Landon’s mother April Justin.  Justin is stern in her belief that Collins’ best choice would be the hometown LSU Tigers as opposed to their bitter SEC rival Alabama.  Justin’s motives may never be truly known but she has offered up her opinion publicly.

In an interview with Momsteam.com,  Justin indicated that the family routinely sets short term and long term goals.  Several of the long term goals were circumvented when Collins chose Alabama.  One of those goals was for Collins to play at LSU with his younger brother who is also being courted by the Tigers.  She also stated that winning the Heisman Trophy was another “goal” that has been set.  That remark will be sure to draw the ire of football purist who will see Justin as a person who has taught her son to put himself and his goals before the teams.

While I could pile on Justin as so many others have,  my experience as a youth football coach gives me reason to pause.  Seven years of coaching youth football allowed me the opportunity to have a finger or two wagged in my face by a protective mother who felt like my goals did not matchup with what she had in mind for her son.  My travel through the World of youth sports educated me on the fact that when it comes to their children,  women have their goals for them and then bleep all the rest.  You can take your X’s and O’s,  your strategy, your team building, etc. and toss it in the bonfire.   Before you go and criticize this quality in a woman,  understand that it is that very quality that makes them the primary care taker inherently.   Mothers have one objective and that is the well-fare of their offspring.  It’s what makes female birds attack people walking close to their nest,  a bear want to destroy a hiker and what made my mother throw the neighborhood bully into the bushes when she saw him in my face.

Another thing moms have is intuition.  Mom’s can read people and they make it a point to do so when someone enters into the lives of their children.  Justin has had the privilege of entertaining both Nick Saban and Les Miles in her home.  Perhaps,  she got a read on one or both that suggests to her that Landon would be best suited in Baton Rouge than in Tuscaloosa.

With all this said,  I have made the following observations.  Landon Collins is a pretty damned good football player. I don’t think he can go wrong at either Alabama or LSU.  Ole Landon is going to be the one going to class, meeting people and suiting up in the pads.  He’s going to have to feel comfortable in his environment.   If mom has done everything right, then at age 18,  Landon should be able to make quality decisions for himself.  Alabama’s success would certainly be tied up in the fortunes of a 5 star recruit like Landon Collins.  They can ill afford to have him fall by the wayside so I am sure the plan they have for him is a solid one.

I would not be surprised if there is a hold up in Collins’ signing on Wednesday but I am not expecting that.  These things usually have a way of working themselves out.  Sometimes,  the player ends up being not as advertised and it’s much ado about nothing or the player ends up proving to be a lights out player that would have hit the NFL whether he was playing for the BCS national champs or Austin Peay.

Author: Chad Wilson

Chad Wilson is a college football recruiting expert and creator of the GridironStudsApp which allows high school football players to gain exposure to college football coaches and fans. Wilson is a former college football player for the University of Miami (92-94) and Long Beach St. (’90-’91) and played briefly for the Seattle Seahawks (’95). He is also a former youth and high school football coach for over 15 years. Wilson’s older son Quincy plays in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts and his younger son plays cornerback for the University of Florida. Email: cwilson@gridironstuds.com.

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