In the first week of January, Landon Collins earned national headlines. To be fair, the nation's second-ranked safety prospect probably had always planned to be in the headlines, with his performance at the 2012 Under Armour All-America Football Game turning any heads which weren't already aware of his prodigious athletic gifts. Instead, Collins found his name on the lips of practically everyone he encountered for a very different reason: His mother upstaged him on national TV, during what was supposed to be his big moment in the sun.
When the time came for Collins to decide between LSU and Alabama for his college football future, the defensive back -- who played his high school football at Geismar (La.) Dutchtown High -- chose the Crimson Tide.
As the world now knows, his mother was quite famously not entertained. She shook her head as soon as he said Alabama, and then told ESPN's Dari Nowkah that she thought LSU was a better fit for her son (if you want to jog your memory about the scene, you can watch ESPN's broadcast of it directly below). Weeks later, we now have one of the strong reasons for why April Justin (that's Landon's mother) felt so strongly about LSU: She felt disrespected by Alabama coach Nick Saban when the Crimson Tide head man visited the Collins household.
As reported by ESPN The Magazine's Christopher Schultz, Saban went directly into a pitch about Landon Collins' NFL prospects when he arrived in Geismar. It turns out that was not what April Justin wanted to hear; rather, she was more concerned about her son's academic future and how he would fit in on campus in Tuscaloosa.
"I think he stereotyped me," April Justin told ESPN.
In the end, those concerns about the Alabama program didn't affect Landon Collins, who gave off the sense that he had been in awe of the program since taking in the Crimson Tide-Florida game in Tuscaloosa during his junior season. Sensing his son's inclination, Collins' father -- who has long been separated from April Justin -- continued to encourage him to go with his instincts.
To be fair, once she knew he was going to pick Alabama, April Justin told her son she was going to skip the All-America game appearance because she knew she couldn't support his choice. Yet Landon pushed her, and she eventually relented and made the drive down to Orlando, arriving just hours before the game kicked off.
The rest, as the say, is history. And while it may take some serious collegiate accomplishments for Collins to relegate his awkward family moment in television history to a secondary memory when his name arises, the talented teen and mom have since reconciled, as they proved during a photo shoot for ESPN's recent piece on the commitment snafu.
"You're still my baby," April Justin says. "Always."
"That's it," Landon says, smiling. "Mom issues."
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