‘Oh, yeah, baby!’ TCU’s L.J. Collier selected by Seattle Seahawks at No. 29 overall

Watch TCU DE L.J. Collier’s draft party after he’s a first-round pick by Seattle Seahawks

TCU defensive end L.J. Collier went crazy when the Seattle Seahawks used a first-round pick to take him on Thursday night. Collier was the 29th overall pick.
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TCU defensive end L.J. Collier went crazy when the Seattle Seahawks used a first-round pick to take him on Thursday night. Collier was the 29th overall pick.

L.J. Collier feels he’s the best defensive end in this year’s NFL Draft class.

The TCU product earned All-Big 12 honors last season, and saw his draft stock boost with impressive showings at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.

But Collier sat and waited for his name to be called during the first-round on Thursday night, gathering with family, friends and former teammates at Omni Frisco Hotel. The moment finally happened a little after 10:35 p.m. when the Seattle Seahawks selected him with the 29th overall pick.

Collier and his friends went crazy when he got the phone call from Seahawks management.

“Oh, yeah, baby!” Collier said.

“I still feel like I’m the best [defensive end], but there’s a time and place to prove all that,” Collier said. “We’ve got a few months till the season comes along and that’s where you prove that. It’s not tonight on draft night.”

Dallas Cowboys great and Hall of Famer Randy White would agree with that statement. White has served as a mentor to Collier in the pre-draft process, as White is close friends with Collier’s agent, Scott Casterline of Team Sports Agency.

White had nothing but good things to say about Collier and his NFL future.

“He plays the game the way I like to see the game be played,” White said. “A guy who goes 110 percent all the time. He doesn’t quit. He doesn’t care what the score is, don’t care about anything. He loves to play football.

“When you get a guy like that, you get a guy who can be a difference-maker and that’s what you’re looking for in the NFL. You’re looking for a guy who can be a game-changer and L.J. has the ability to do that. Mentally and physically he’s tough enough. He just has to get in the right situation with the right circumstances and I think he’s going to be a great player.

“I think we’re going to be talking about L.J. for a lot of years to come.”

Collier was the sixth defensive end taken on the night.

Ohio State’s Nick Bosa ended up being the first pass rusher taken on Thursday night, going No. 2 to the San Francisco 49ers. Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell went fourth overall to the Oakland Raiders, Michigan’s Rashan Gary went 12th overall to the Green Bay Packers, Florida State’s Brian Burns went 16th overall to the Carolina Panthers and Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat went 26th overall to the Washington Redskins.

Collier had a standout season with six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss, his first season as a starter.

“Everyone had questions, ‘Were you a one-hit wonder?’” Collier said. “That’s one thing I want to say to everybody -- I’ve been able to play this game and I can play at a high level.”

The night had a family reunion feel to it with several of Collier’s closest family and friends from tiny Munday making the trek to Frisco, as well as former TCU teammates such as Joseph Broadnax Jr. and Mat Boesen.

“It’s an unreal feeling,” Collier said of the gathering before his selection. “We’re just waiting patiently. Everybody is family, everybody is in my corner.”

Especially the Seahawks.

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