After LSU’s July camp session, La’el Collins and fellow Redemptorist standout Jeremy Hill were pulled into the headman’s office and given the rundown on why they should stay in Baton Rouge for college.
“That day, coach Miles told us that LSU needed us, and that we could do really special things if we stayed at home to play football,” Collins said. “That was the day he gave us our verbal offers; the day that he let us both know we were top priorities for their program.”
Roughly one month later, Collins’ written offer came across the fax machine. Less than a month after that, the 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect decided that he had let things linger long enough.
“I had wanted to wait until next year to commit somewhere, but I knew that LSU was the place, so there was no point in looking around,” he said. “The home school was by my side from day one, so I had to step up with my end of the deal. There is no better situation out there for me.”
With depth issues on the offensive line, Collins said that the opportunity to make an early impact also favored well for LSU in terms of his decision.
“I could play anywhere on the offensive line, but I think that coaches really like me at tackle and want me to come in and fight for a spot right away,” he said. “I feel like coming in as a freshman, I can work hard and dedicate myself on and off the field to prove that I can make an impact regardless of age.
“With some guys graduating over the next couple of seasons and some younger guys being forced into the mix, I want to enroll and help out as soon as they need me. [Offensive line] Coach [Greg] Studrawa said that I am a difference maker, and I have to get out and make it happen.”
The chance for the Baton Rouge native to stay home and play in Tiger Stadium - in front of his family - was another selling point for the Tigers.
“My folks have always been able to see me play, so they loved that I was offered by LSU because now they don’t have to travel to watch me,” Collins said. “They really trust the coaching staff to put me in a position to succeed on and off the field, so it was a no-brainer from everyone’s end.”
Collins, who committed alongside Hill on Monday evening, said that the day was made even more special by having a best friend along for the ride.
“This was a moment that we both have always dreamed of, and it feels great for us,” he said. “Jeremy and I have played ball together since ninth grade, so why break that up now? We just hope LSU fans are as excited about having us as we are about joining the program.”
Collins, a four-star tackle prospect, chose LSU over offers from Florida State, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, South Florida and others.