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

rules.

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

schedule.

”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

team.