We tripped over an EDSBS post Wednesday reflecting on the curious connection between sickingly talented running backs and their penchants for bizarre, disturbing, or just plain illegal, activities. The post begins,
Cecil Collins, oh, for the things you could have been had you not decided to break into apartments and strange women sleep.
Collins smashed bones to pieces for one hot streak of games in 1997 before breaking his leg, and then deciding the best thing to do with his spare time was entering apartments not belonging to him and cuddling with women.
He wasn’t a molester; no, we prefer the term “cuddle bandit,” instead, as it sounds so much more jaunty.
Reference to the former LSU tailback reminded us of a time when we were terrified of but three things in this world:
(1) Skeet Ulrich;
(2) forgetting to return a book to the public library for several years, causing an accumulation of overdue fines exceeding a million dollars; and
(3) Cecil “The Diesel” Collins.
Beside having the baddest-ass nickname in the history of people, every time he stepped onto the field he evoked that melancholic flood of hot fear-blood in the stomachs of opposing players, coaches, and fans – and probably even his own teammates.
We remember watching The Diesel absolutely run roughshod over folks in the ’97 LSU-Auburn game down in Death Valley. He was like a cyclonic bulldozer every time he carried the ball, and it was clear that after a couple of his runs, instead of attempting to stop him, Auburn defenders were trying to get out of his way.
Because he hurt. Hurt bad.
It was a game in which it seemed like every time LSU ran the ball, the Tigahs either scored or sent somebody to the hospital – or both. Collins finished that game with 232 yards, but LSU’s own defense couldn’t contain AU quarterback Dameyune Craig, and the visitors eked out a 31-28 win over coach Gerry DiNardo‘s squad.
In 1995, Collins’s senior season at Leesville High School, he wrecked the fields for over 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. The performance led to his coronation as Louisiana’s first Mr. Football as well as his second straight player-of-the-year award in 4A, Leesville’s classification. When his high school career was over, he had compiled over 7,800 yards, good for second-best all-time in state history, and 99 touchdowns.
The Diesel only played in three full D1 college football games, however. After missing his first year at LSU due to grades, he stepped in alongside second-string RB Rondell Mealey against Mississippi State to cover for injured starter Kevin Faulk in the second game of the season. LSU’s scary rushing attack did not skip a beat without Faulk, as Collins and Mealey tore into Bulldog coordinator Joe Lee Dunn‘s defense for 257 combined yards (Collins had 172). The next week he had his way with Auburn. Following that, he rumbled over poor Akron for 179 yards.
Note that he lost a shoe at the line of scrimmage and was angry he only got to run over one defender.
In Collins’s fourth outing in an LSU uniform, against Vanderbilt, he broke his leg early in the contest. Somebody important must’ve been praying for Vandy. In just over three college football games, The Diesel had gained nearly 600 yards and caused more cranial contusions than Mike Tyson.
After his injury, Collins was arrested for breaking into a girl’s home and “cuddling” with her. He claimed to have been sleepwalking when the incident occurred, and LSU bought it. But then it happened again, and this time he was dropped from the football team and the university.
Let’s be clear about something – if Cecil “The Diesel” Collins entered our home in the middle of the night and attempted to “cuddle,” caress, or even make us watch Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion with him, we would oblige and offer to make him panna cotta. Then we would request that he allow us to remove our mud-colored underwear and slip into a sheer satin teddy. We’d do all this not because we’re into dudes (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but because he is the most terrifying individual on Earth.
But now The Diesel is in prison. Not long after signing with the Miami Dolphins and actually playing in some NFL games in ’99, he broke into a married woman’s house for more creepy breathing and cuddling. The woman’s husband was home.
Guess they didn’t have any panna cotta ingredients in the pantry.