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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Tiger Tale: Jalen Collins

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Leading up to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, we'll take a daily look at a key LSU player and examine how he has done and what his challenges are for the Clemson game.

Jalen Collins, CB, Freshman

Accomplishments: Technically not a starter, Collins played like one in his redshirt freshman season, taking on the nickelback role in a season where he had 28 tackles, two interceptions and six passes broken up to finish tied for second on the team with eight passes defended. It was good enough to get him on the SEC all-freshman team despite having just one actual start, against Texas A&M. In that game, he picked off eventual Heiman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Shortcomings: When Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the team in August, Collins looked to be the guy to take the starting spot at cornerback, but he was passed for the starting job by true freshman Jalen Mills. Like many members of the LSU secondary, he was beat some late in the season as the Tigers went up against some of the more prolific passing offenses they faced.

Against Clemson: Don't be surprised if Collins doesn't get his second start. Clemson likes to spread the field and LSU looked vulnerable late in the season against good passing attacks. So it wouldn't surprise if Clemson comes out with four or five wide receivers and Collins isn't out there for LSU's first defensive snap instead of a linebacker. Either way, he figures to play a lot, and get tested often, against pass-happy Clemson.