After delay, Collins signs with Arkansas
Alex Collins was dressed in a camouflage jumpsuit, complete with
a matching tie.
Maybe an odd choice, considering that on the day he was supposed
to sign his letter of intent with Arkansas, it was his mother’s
signature that couldn’t be found.
No matter. A day later than he intended – and after yet another
odd twist to his recruiting saga – Collins signed with the
Razorbacks on Thursday. The highly rated and highly coveted running
back from South Plantation High near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., did so
with his father providing the written consent required by NCAA
Collins said his mother, who would not sign the letter of intent
on Wednesday as many expected, supported his college decision. But
she was notably absent from his hastily scheduled event on
Thursday, and a law firm founded by former O.J. Simpson attorney
Johnnie Cochran said that Andrea McDonald retained their services
to represent ”the family’s interests.”
That announcement was made about 45 minutes before Alex Collins
and his father Johnny Collins put pens to paper, officially sealing
his college choice.
”I’m happy it’s over,” Alex Collins said. ”I didn’t think
about going anywhere else because I had my mind set. This is where
I wanted to go. I just talked to my mom. I let her know. I
explained myself and we have a better understanding.”
The running back said he was unaware that his mother hired
attorney Jack Paris from the Cochran Law Firm, insisting that ”no
one hired any lawyers.” But in a statement Thursday, Paris said
the Collins family wanted ”to make a clean choice that is free of
any outside influences.”
”It’s where he wanted to go,” said Johnny Collins, who was not
part of Wednesday’s planned ceremony.
Later Thursday, Paris released a second statement, saying it
remains ”a difficult time” for McDonald.
”She is a loving and caring mother who only wants her son to
choose a university without any outside and inappropriate
influences,” Paris said. ”Ms. McDonald hopes all NCAA rules and
regulations were followed during today’s signing. She is not
seeking any personal financial gain because her only concern is for
Alex’s happiness and well-being.”
Alex Collins ran for 2,915 yards and scored 38 touchdowns in his
final two high school seasons, with some services touting him as
the top all-purpose runner in this year’s recruiting class. He
originally committed to Miami, then opened his recruiting up in
order to see other parts of the country. He said the ongoing NCAA
investigation into the Hurricanes’ athletic compliance practices
played no role in his decision.
He said his mother is fine with the choice to go to Arkansas,
but was leery that he was committing to go to school far from home
and was worried that he had not fully thought the decision through.
Collins said his mother missed Thursday’s event because of her work
”From her standpoint, she wants to make sure this is the right
decision for me,” he said.
Arkansas said it received the paperwork shortly after Collins’
signing event concluded.
Collins’ recruitment was only one of the headline-grabbing
stories involving this past season’s South Plantation football
roster. In August, South Plantation senior Erin Dimeglio became the
first female to play quarterback for a Florida boys’ high school