Five-star OT La'El Collins' big night

THIBODAUX, La. -- In many ways Friday night's game between Louisiana powers Redemptorist and Patterson was a celebration of the future of LSU.

With the three ESPNU 150 players in the game committed to LSU, it was a showcase of talents.

And no one was bigger or better than five-star offensive tackle La'El Collins. The 6-foot-5, 285-pounder led a dominating performance from the Wolves offensive line and paved the way for a 282-yard performance from Jeremy Hill, his current and future teammate.

"I like that I get the credit but it's all of us," Collins said, pointing to his teammates on the line. "Every man has to do their part and that's what we did tonight.

However, what separated Collins from the pack was his addition to the defensive line and a crucial fourth-quarter sack that helped put the game away.

"I saw their offensive line was starting to wear down a little and I found the opening," Collins said. "It was there all game but I finally got to the spot and got the sack.

So could some defensive tackle be in the future for the No. 8 ranked player in the ESPNU 150?

"Well I'll play anywhere they ask me to in high school or college," Collins said. "I still think my best position is offensive line but I'm going to do what it takes to make sure my team has the best chance to win."

Collins played several series in the second half on the defensive side of the ball and should expect to do more this season.

"I told La'El we were going to have to use him on defense before the season began," Redemptorist coach Guy Mistretta said. "And he showed you about his work ethic because he played both sides of the ball [Friday night] and he's not tired."

One of the things that make Collins such a special player is his ability to open up the offense on plays that he isn't fully involved in. Sometimes Mistretta will use him on a pull to the other side of the field but other times he will run plays to the opposite side completely because Collins attracts so much attention.

"Many times you'll see the defenses loading up to La'El's side to the point of where you've got clear field on the other side," Mistretta added. "And that's how special of a player he is."

Collins is the centerpiece of a recruiting class that has LSU getting back to the basics of securing the top in-state players.

Twelve of the Tigers' 17 verbal commitments are from Louisiana and two others are from the eastern side of Texas.

"I feel real good about the class that I'm going to be part of at LSU," Collins added. "Obviously we're all talented but we're also real hungry and we want to be part of another championship team.

"We are going to get after it and we are going to get the job done. I think Coach [Les] Miles and his staff is doing a great job and I'm happy to be a Tiger."

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.