Collins with the Giants in 2017
|No. 21 – New York Giants|
|Born:||January 10, 1994|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||222 lb (101 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||2015 / Round: 2 / Pick: 33|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2018|
|Player stats at PFR|
Landon Alexander Collins (born January 10, 1994) is an American football safety for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama for three seasons and won a national championship in his freshman season. He decided to forgo his senior season for the 2015 NFL Draft. Collins was selected in the second round, 33rd overall, by the New York Giants after the team traded up seven spots with the Tennessee Titans to take him. Collins was named to the 2016 Pro Bowl in his second season with the Giants, also being named to the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row in 2017.
- 1 High school career
- 2 College career
- 3 Professional career
- 4 Personal life
- 5 References
- 6 External links
High school career
Collins attended Dutchtown High School, in Geismar, Louisiana, where he was a two-sport star in football and track. In football, he was an All-American defensive back. As a sophomore, he had 26 tackles with 1.5 sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery, while playing alongside senior Eric Reid. Replacing Reid, Collins accounted for 102 tackles with 12 tackles for loss and four interceptions as a junior, earning an 5A All-State selection by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The Dutchtown Griffins went unbeaten through the regular season and entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, only to be upset 29–14 by No. 24 New Iberia Westgate in the Class 5A quarterfinals. The Griffins finished the season with a 12–1 record. As a senior, Collins excelled on both sides of the ball. On offense, he rushed for 1,218 yards and 21 touchdowns while averaging 13.7 yards per carry. Meanwhile, in the defensive backfield, he had 34 tackles with four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. Collins became the first player in LSWA history to earn 5A All-State honors on both sides of the ball. He led the Griffins to their second straight 10–0 regular season and District 5-5A title. However, in the opening round of the 5A playoffs, they were upset 28–14 by Ponchatoula. For his individual achievements, Collins earned All-American honors by Parade and USA Today. He also starred in the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game, recording an interception and keying a goal-line stand.
Also an standout track & field athlete, Collins was one of the state's top sprinters while at Dutchtown. At the 2011 Josten's Invitational, Collins ran the second leg on the Dutchtown 4 × 100m squad, helping lead them to victory and setting a new school record at 41.10 seconds. He won the 100-meter dash at the 2012 Episcopal 4-Way Championships, recording a personal-best time of 10.28 seconds. He also posted a career-best time of 21.60 seconds in the 200-meter dash at the 2012 Josten's Invitational, where he placed first. At the LHSAA Class 5A State Championships, Collins ran the second leg on the Dutchtown 4 × 200m squad, helping them claim the state title with a time of 1:25.40 minutes. In addition, he also ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and had a 36-inch vertical jump.
Commitment to Alabama
Regarded as a five-star recruit by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, Collins was ranked as the No. 1 safety prospect in his class and the No. 3 player overall by 247sports.com. ESPN, in their rankings of the 2012 class' top 150 high school football players, also listed Collins as the No. 1 safety, but as the No. 6 player overall, while Rivals.com had Collins as their No. 2 safety and 17th best overall player. Recruited by nearly every major school, Collins narrowed his choice down to Alabama and Louisiana State. He announced his decision live at the Under Armour All-America Game, choosing the Crimson Tide. Upon choosing Alabama, Collins acknowledged that he "actually made the decision two years prior," but his mother, April Justin, was visibly displeased with her son's decision to choose the Crimson Tide over her LSU Tigers. As Collins put on Alabama receiving gloves to announce his decision, Justin could be heard saying, "LSU Tigers, No. 1. Go Tigers." Justin is a big LSU fan having lived close to the Baton Rouge stadium, but she also highlighted that another reason for her disdain towards Landon's decision was because LSU produces better lives for football players when they retire. Despite Collins' success at Alabama, Justin maintains her displeasure with her son's decision.
2012 Season: Freshman Year
When Collins arrived in Tuscaloosa for his freshman season, then-defensive coordinator Kirby Smart noted that Collins was a young player struggling to adjust to the nuances of the college game. Shortly after deciding to declare for the NFL Draft in January 2015, Collins' recalled that as a freshman, "You're going to be lost. You don't know what's going on. You don't know the process of how everything goes."  As a true freshman at Alabama, Collins contributed as a backup. He started on the kickoff and punt coverage units on and saw reserve action at safety in all 14 season games, recording 17 tackles and blocking a punt. He tied for the team lead with 10 special teams tackles, including nine on kickoff coverage and one on punt coverage. Alabama went on to win the BCS National Championship in 2012.
2013 Season: Sophomore Year
After starting safety Vinnie Sunseri tore his ACL during Alabama's 52-0 win against Arkansas, Collins took over the starting job. In his first game as a starter against Tennessee, Collins had an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown. He finished the year with 70 tackles, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. Collins' 70 tackles ranked 2nd among the team, only behind starting linebacker C.J. Mosley, despite only having started six games. Despite starting the season 11-0, Alabama concluded the season with an Iron Bowl loss to Auburn and an Allstate Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma.
2014 Season: Junior Year
As a junior, Collins started all fourteen games and led the team with 98 tackles, tied for the team lead in interceptions with three alongside Cyrus Jones, and finished second on the team with two fumble recoveries. He was named a unanimous All-American. The team would go on to make the first ever College Football Playoff, but eventually would lose to Ohio State in the semifinals.
Declaration for the NFL Draft
After his junior season, Collins entered the 2015 NFL Draft. Collins was reluctant to forgo his senior season at Alabama, but he was swayed by the NFL Draft Advisory Board's decision to grade him as a potential first-round pick. Mel Kiper Jr., of ESPN, even had him listed as a top-10 pick in one of his original mock drafts. Collins acknowledged that passing up on the opportunities to compete for another national championship and continue his education at Alabama were difficult, but vowed that he would complete the necessary courses in order to ensure that he would graduate.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 0 in
|31 1⁄2 in
|9 3⁄8 in
|4.53 s||1.57 s||2.64 s||4.33 s||7.38 s||35 in
|10 ft 0 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
New York Giants
Collins was selected 33rd overall in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. The Giants originally owned the 40th pick, 8th overall in the second round, but made a trade with the Tennessee Titans in order to take Collins. In return, Tennessee received the 40th pick, 108th pick (fourth round), and 245th pick (seventh round).
2015 season: Rookie year
On June 19, 2015, the New York Giants signed Collins to a four-year, $6.12 million contract with $4.02 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $2.71 million.
Collins entered training camp competing with Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe to be the New York Giants' starting free safety, after they lost veterans Quintin Demps, Antrel Rolle, and Stevie Brown to free agency in the off season. On August 14, 2015, in a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Collins suffered a sprained MCL. He missed only one preseason game. The New York Giants named him the starting free safety to begin his rookie season. Collins was switched from his natural strong safety position since he was better suited to play free safety than Brandon Meriweather.
He made his professional regular season debut in the New York Giants' season opener against the Dallas Cowboys and finished the 27–26 loss with four combined tackles. On October 19, 2015, Collins made his first career interception, picking off Sam Bradford and made five combined tackles in the Giant's 27–7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. On December 20, 2015, Collins recorded a season-high ten combined tackles and a pass deflection in a 38–35 loss to the Carolina Panthers. He finished his rookie season with 112 combined tackles, nine pass deflections, and an interception in 16 starts. The New York Giants finished 6–10 and head coach Tom Coughlin resigned at the end of the season.
Collins enjoyed a breakout year in 2016 helping the Giants to an 11-5 record and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
With the selection of Darian Thompson in the 2016 NFL Draft, Collins was able to switch back to his originally intended position of strong safety. He was named the de facto starting strong safety to begin the regular season.
In the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, Collins recorded six solo tackles and a pass deflection in his regular season debut at strong safety. The following week, he made sixed combined tackles and made his first career sack on Drew Brees in a 16–13 victory over the New Orleans Saints. On October 16, 2016, Collins racked up a season-high nine solo tackles, an assisted tackle, and sacked Joe Flacco in a 27–23 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The following week the New York Giants played the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium in London and he made eight solo tackles and a season-high two interceptions off of Case Keenum and returned one for a 44-yard touchdown. He was named Week 7's NFC Defensive Player of the week.
On November 6, 2016, Collins made a season-high 12 combined tackles, a pass deflection, a sack, and intercepted Carson Wentz during the Giant's 28–23 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive game and was the first safety to accomplish that feat since Troy Polamalu. The following week, he recorded five solo tackles and intercepted Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter of a 21–20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. During a Week 11 matchup with the Chicago Bears, Collins made six solo tackles, three pass deflections, and intercepted Jay Cutler with 1:11 left on the clock to seal the 22–16 victory. This was Collins fourth consecutive game with an interception. Collins earned NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November, registering 30 combined tackles, a sack, and three interceptions.
On December 20, 2016, Collins was named to the 2017 Pro Bowl. He finished his first season under new head coach Ben McAdoo with 125 combined tackles, four sacks, 13 pass deflections, five interceptions, and a touchdown in 16 starts. Collins ended the season as the only player in NFL history to have over 100 solo tackles, more than two sacks, at least five interceptions, and with a minimum 12 pass deflections. He was also named first-team All-Pro. After the season, Collins was named NFC Defensive player of the Year by the Kansas City Committee of 101. He was also ranked 28th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.
In Week 11, Collins recorded 15 tackles and had an Interception in a 12-9 overtime win over the Chiefs, earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Week. The Giants started the season 2-10 and subsequently fired head coach Ben McAdoo. Collins expressed his displeasure with this decision by highlighting that McAdoo deserved to coach for at least one more year. In Week 14, Collins injured his ankle in a game against the Dallas Cowboys. Collins was forced to leave the game and was unable to return. However he returned the following week in Week 16. On December 19, 2017, Collins was named to his second Pro Bowl. On December 26, 2017, Collins was placed on injured reserve after suffering a fractured forearm in Week 16. Landon was one of three players on the roster to kneel during the 2017 season.
During the offseason, Collins announced that he required surgery on his right forearm, and that he may have to miss part of the Giants training camp. Collins was part of trade rumors around the trade deadline, however he was not moved. In the team's week 13 win over the Chicago Bears, Collins suffered a partially torn rotator cuff, and was placed on injured reserve four days later after it was announced he would have surgery to repair it. He finished the season with 96 total tackles, four pass breakups, and a forced fumble playing and starting in 12 games.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Collins grew up in the Algiers neighborhood. When Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005, Collins and his family had to leave, and eventually settled in Geismar in Ascension Parish. From ages 4–12, Tom Collins, Landon's father, was his football coach. Landon says his father "is the most influential coach I've ever had." Collins said that while his father coached him, he coined the nickname "Money" for his son because everything he touched "was just gold at the age of six." As a child, Landon's idols were former running back Clinton Portis, retired quarterback Peyton Manning, and the late Sean Taylor, who was a safety for the Redskins when he was murdered - Collins wears No. 21 to honor Sean Taylor. Collins also started playing baseball when he was 7 or 8 years old.
Collins is the son of Tom Collins and April Justin. His father is currently a station director at the Coastal Bridge Construction Company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while his mother resides in Florida. Landon is Justin's first-born son. He has one brother, Gerald Willis, and one sister, Gerrah Willis. Gerald also plays football and originally committed to play for the University of Florida. He played the 2014 season for the Gators, but then decided to transfer to the University of Miami. After sitting out the 2015 due to NCAA transfer rules, Willis featured in nine games for the Hurricanes in 2016, but then announced that he would be taking a leave of absence in the summer of 2017. Head coach Mark Richt said that Willis would not play for Miami in the 2017 season, but in October 2017, Richt said, "There's not anybody better than Gerald Willis," after observing him in practice.
Collins' relationship with his mom has remained strained to this day ever since he chose the Crimson Tide over LSU. Landon's brother, Gerald, convinced Justin to come to the 2015 NFL Draft by offering her a free spa session in Chicago, the host site for the draft. The two have never directly addressed Landon's decision to choose Alabama over LSU, which causes the issue to remain a source of tension in their relationship.
Following President Donald Trump's comments in which he said that any player who kneels during the National Anthem should be fired or suspended, Collins and teammates Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon all took a knee in the Giants' third game of 2017 season versus the Philadelphia Eagles. When asked about his decision to kneel, Collins said, "I was absolutely conflicted. I love this country. The emotions overwhelmed me. I was crying as I got down on my knee. I didn't feel like I was disrespecting my country and all those who have served, but at the same time, I didn't want to let anyone down." Collins also referenced his uncle who previously served in the Army as an additional source of conflicted feelings while taking a knee during the anthem. When the Giants played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following week, Collins instead chose to raise his fist during the anthem and has continued to do so since. This decision came after Giants owner John Mara requested that the players stood during the anthem, while noting that he understood if they did not.
In 2017, Collins headlined the Landon Collins Celebrity Softball Game. The game was organized by Giants fan Joe Ruback, known as "License Plate Guy." Current Giants players teamed up against players from the Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI championship teams. The event consisted of a softball game, dodgeball game and a home run derby. Part of the ticket proceeds benefited the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, an organization that provides emotional, financial and practical support for families fighting childhood cancer.
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