FAYETTEVILLE — South Plantation (Fla.) High running back Alex Collins has finally signed his national letter-of-intent with Arkansas.
Collins, who is rated as the No. 1 running back in the nation by 247Sports, put his signature on the necessary paperwork along with his father, Johnny Collins, at a South Florida restaurant on Thursday. The Razorbacks received the papers a few minutes later and announced Collins as the 23rd member of its 2013 recruiting class.
Collins’ addition came roughly 24 hours after originally expected and appeared to be against the wishes of his mother, Andrea McDonald, who refused to sign the papers on Wednesday and was reportedly not present for Thursday’s ceremony. Prospects who are not 21 years old are required to have a parent or legal guardian’s signature.
But Collins said his mother was fine when asked during a television interview.
“It’s not necessarily her not wanting me to go to Arkansas,” Collins said during an interview with Miami’s CBS 4 minutes before signing the papers. “It’s because she cares about me so much she doesn’t want me to make the wrong decision. So it was basically giving me enough time to really sit down and think because this is going to be the next four years of my life. It’s just her care inside, knowing that I’m going to leave the state, am I comfortable with that? I understand. She gives me that time to think about it and I’m pretty sure this is what I want to do. This is where I want to go. I respect her and understand why she did it, to give me more time. … I still love my mom.”
Collins later told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel he was not aware his mother had hired an attorney, though. A press release was circulated in South Florida before his signing ceremony Thursday, announcing McDonald had retained attorney Jack Paris of The Cochran Firm – South Florida to “represent the family’s interests while she contemplates on signing the NCAA’s Letter of Intent that will decide where the South Plantation High School running back will play football.”
“Alex’s family has been overwhelmed with media inquiries regarding their impending decision,” Paris said in the press release. “They want to make a clean choice that is free of any outside influences. This is a very tough decision and they are weighing their options very carefully. In the meantime, they have requested The Cochran Firm’s assistance in clearing up any false or inaccurate statements in the press.”
It couldn’t keep Collins from signing with the Razorbacks a little later, though.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was not permitted to comment on Collins during Wednesday’s press conference because he had not signed his letter-of-intent. But the first-year coach said in a press release Thursday that Collins was a “great addition.”
“He is an upstanding young man who has impressed us throughout our time getting to know him, and he focused on making a decision that was the best for him athletically, academically and socially,” Bielema said. “He has high character and is a student-athlete we are thrilled to bring into our family. He made it clear to us that he truly wanted to be a Razorback, which is what we want from everyone we sign.”