South Plantation (Florida) High School running back Alex Collins has signed his letter of intent with the University of Arkansas, but his mother continues to fight it, hiring an attorney to represent the her.
While his mom may not approve, Collins’ dad, Johnny Collins, signed his son’s letter of intent on Thursday. Under NCAA guidelines, students under 21 must have the signature of a parent or legal guardian on the letter.
The Scout.com five-star recruit had been expected to sign during a Wednesday ceremony at the school, but he was a no show after his mother, Andrea McDonald, confiscated the paperwork.
McDonald is upset that Collins didn’t choose a school closer to home. Miami, Florida and Florida State were among the other schools Collins was considering.
Amid the turmoil, there was speculation that Collins would reconsider his choice, but he never wavered. He said he carried no hard feelings toward his mom for the controversy.
“I respect her and understand why she did it to really give me time to really think about it,” Collins told CBS Miami. “It was her making sure I made the right decision.”
“She’s having anxiety,” Collins’ older brother Johnny told the Miami Herald on Wednesday afternoon. “I know she preferred him to go to UM. Alex had said he was going to the U, and then all of a sudden he changes his mind. We found out he was going to Arkansas on TV.”
“I would prefer him to go to Miami, too. Because it would be a better program for him, a better environment. He could get home faster and it’s more convenient if Mom wants to go to a game — instead of having to fly to Arkansas.”
Even as he signed his letter of intent, Collins was unaware that his mother had hired legal representation from the Cochran Firm — which was founded by Johnnie Cochran Jr., who had famously represented O.J. Simpson in his murder trial. Collins said he had spoken to her earlier in the day and that she supported his decision.
But hours after Collins’ letter had been received by Arkansas, McDonald’s attorney, Jack Paris, released a statement that conflicted with Collins’ belief.
“Ms. McDonald understands that Alex has received consent from his father who has signed the letter-of-intent for him to play football for the University of Arkansas. However, our client’s initial intentions remain unchanged.
“She is a loving and caring mother who only wants her son to choose a university without any outside and inappropriate influences. 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. The Cochran Firm is standing by Ms. McDonald in this difficult time and has made all of the firm’s resources available to her as she explores her options.”
There is some conjecture that Collins was steered to Arkansas by South Plantation coach Doug Gatewood, who has a friendship with Razorbacks assistant Charlie Partridge, but Collins insists he fell in love with the school after his official visit.
Here’s Collins when he announced his decision on Monday: