In 2013, Landon Collins, a 5-star recruit on the Alabama football team, stepped up on defense when he replaced HaHa Clinton-Dix due to a suspension, and then again when Vinnie Sunseri sustained a season-ending injury. When Sunseri got injured, the Tide’s defense seemed to be in peril, but Nick Saban moved Collins from special teams to defense, and Collins quickly helped the Tide regain the strength Alabama’s defense has had for the past 5 years. Although Sunseri was a huge asset to the team because of his speed and field vision, Collins was able to help fill in the void in ways that many thought impossible.
By the end of the season, Collins was named to the Second Team All-SEC team and showed Alabama Nation that he was ready to roll. Throughout the season, Collins’ speed, endurance and field vision helped him rack up two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, as well as racking up an impressive number of tackles: 70.
With this 2014 season quickly approaching, and with the loss of many defensive players to the NFL and graduation, Collins will become a leader of defense. In the games against Auburn and Oklahoma, Collins had a personal best with 8 solo tackles against Auburn and 7 solos against Oklahoma.
Auburn was playing a little more uptempo than normal in the 2013 Iron Bowl, but that didn’t intimidate Collins. With other teams starting to play faster tempo football, the Crimson Tide will need players like Collins: guys able to transition quickly.
Another part of Collins that is very impressive is his speed. Against Tennessee, Landon had an 89-yard pick-six; his speed and agility will be key factors in 2014.
Collins’ agility, speed, and field vision will definitely help the Tide in 2014, but it will be his leadership that will help the Tide be successful. CJ Mosley was the defensive leader last season; Landon Collins will need to emulate Mosley’s defensive leadership skills in order for the Tide to have a chance at their 16th national title.