Alabama in the Pros

Safety Landon Collins delivers New York Giants back to postseason action

New York Giants safety Landon Collins (No. 21) knocks Washington's wide receiver Pierre Garcon out of bounds in Sunday's game: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Playing meaningful football runs in the blood of Landon Collins. In high school, he led the Dutchtown (La.) Griffins to two undefeated regular seasons and a District 5-5A championship in his senior year.

During his three years at the University of Alabama (2012-14), the Louisiana native would earn a BCS national title and two Southeastern Conference championships in his tenure as an All-American and All-SEC safety.

The New York Giants needed a leader in its defensive backfield and in the 2015 NFL Draft, the franchise struck gold with selecting Collins in the second round. He led the team in tackles last season with 112, but noticed how the Giants haven’t made the postseason since its Super Bowl run in 2011.

Collins returned this season to quiet all who slept on him in the draft process.

After a 2-3 start, New York hosted the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 17, 2016. He covered an entire field, amassing 12 tackles and a sack in a 27-23 win for the Giants. His efforts not only ignited a six-game winning streak, but it also set Collins up for dominant play in November– when he won NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month. He recorded five interceptions, including two against the Los Angeles Rams in a 17-10 victory.

Even with the Dallas Cowboys finishing as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, two of its three losses came at the hand of Collins and the Giants. He spearheads a top-10 scoring defense (17.8 ppg, second) and total defense (339.7 ypg, 10th), while leading the group in tackles with 125.  After defeating Washington 19-10, Collins and New York locked up the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs at 11-5.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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