Landon Collins' mother will not go down without a fight.
April Justin went viral earlier this month after openly disagreeing with her son's decision to commit to Alabama instead of his home state school of LSU, telling a national television audience on ESPNU "Go Tigers. LSU No. 1" after her son had announced his intention to sign with the Crimson Tide.
Since that episode, Justin hasn't given up her fight to see her son at LSU and even told the website Momstream.com that her son chose Alabama because Nick Saban promised his girlfriend, Victoria Lowery, a job in Saban's office.
Lowery is already headed to Alabama.
It's important to note that Justin and Lowery don't get along. In a lengthy article about Collins' decision for ESPN the Magazine, Christopher Shultz cited a confrontation between Justin and Lowery right before the infamous Under Armour All-American Game interview. Just before the cameras rolled for Collins' announcement, Lowery was urged onstage by her sister while Justin wanted only family in front of the camera. Lowery ultimately won the confrontation and was standing right behind Collins when he made his announcement. Justin was visibly upset and wasn't shy about sharing her feelings about her son's choice in schools.
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In the ESPN the Magazine article, Justin also took issues with Saban's recruiting tactics saying, "I think he stereotyped me" as a mother who was more interested in her son's NFL prospects than his education.
So, to read her accuse Alabama and Saban of a serious recruiting violation seems to have more bitterness to it than actual truth. Here's the excerpt written by Brooke de Lench:
What the [ESPN] article didn't mention, however, was the reason April was apparently upset, which may have tipped the scales in Alabama's favor. According to April, Victoria had allegedly been offered a job to work in head coach Nick Saban's office.
In all fairness to Saban and Alabama, I have been unable to independently confirm April's story on this point (Citing NCAA rules, Doug Walker, Associate Athletics Director, Communications, at the University of Alabama, stated in an email to MomsTeam that the school "would not comment on anything relating to the recruitment of a prospective student-athlete." Asked if Landon's girlfriend had been offered a job, he stated, "I have no information regarding that."). All I know is what April told me.
Even if Justin hadn't said something about this potential recruiting violation, someone would have figured out that something was fishy, especially after Lowery's name appeared in ESPN the Magazine and subsequently all over the Internet.
Beyond her dismay over her son following his girlfriend to college, Justin also doesn't think Alabama will use her son correctly.
"At 'Bama they want to red shirt - or grey shirt - him and they want him playing nickleback instead of safety. He is the top safety in the country and he will never play a game his freshman year. Now, at LSU coach Les Miles is offering to play him as safety during his freshman year. His (Nick Saban's) goals don't meet the criteria of the family; they meet the criteria of Alabama."
What were, then, her goals? "For Landon to win the Heisman Trophy and to be able to play close to home at LSU with his younger brother, Gerald, who is also an outstanding football player who has offers to play at LSU."
At this point, I don't know whether I feel bad for Collins or Justin. I don't know if Justin just wants what's best for her son or is trying to live vicariously through him, but in either case she's probably doing more to drive him away than keep him close.
I wonder if she'll wear gold and purple to every one of Collins' games in protest?
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