Plantation, Fla., running back Alex Collins is expected to sign with Arkansas on Thursday. / Jim Rassol, Sun Sentinel
Plantation (Fla.) running back Alex Collins capped his strange and winding recruitment by having his father sign his National Letter of Intent, paving the five-star prospect's path to Arkansas.
It took Collins 24 hours to send his papers to coach Bret Bielema and his staff, however. Prior to a signing announcement on Wednesday, Collins' mother, Andrea McDonald, confiscated her son's letter of intent and disappeared, essentially preventing Collins from signing with the Razorbacks â?? or signing with any school, per NCAA rules.
For recruits under the age of 21, a legal guardian needs to put his or her signature on signing papers for it to be considering binding by the NCAA. Collins was able to send an official document to Arkansas by having his father, Johnny Collins, sign his National Letter of Intent.
McDonald wanted her son to stay closer to home. Collins gave a verbal commitment to Miami (Fla.) in January 2012 before flipping to Wisconsin, then coached by Bielema; he then followed Bielema to Arkansas, giving a verbal commitment to the Razorbacks on Monday evening.
On Thursday morning, Collins said in a text message with USA TODAY Sports that despite Wednesday's drama he was still planning on signing with Arkansas. "I am a razorback," Collins said.
Of his mother, who was not present when Collins made his official announcement Thursday â?? she was at work, her son said â?? Collins said she is "upset because she wants me to be close to home."
He continued, "but she knows it's my decision on where I want to go."
Collins stayed in touch with Bielema during the process, even as it seemed as if he would not be able to join the Razorbacks' 2013 recruiting class. Bielema was "very understanding," Collins said, and told him to "just take my time and everything will be alright."
During Thursday's announcement, Collins said he "talked to my mom and let her know. I explained myself and we had a better understanding."
Despite what had occurred Wednesday, he never wavered on his commitment. "I didn't think about going anywhere else because I had my mind set," Collins said.
Bielema called Collins, who is the top-ranked running back in the country, according to 247Sports.com, "a great addition to this class."
Said Bielema in a university release: "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. 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."
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Read the original story: Recruit whose mother took letter of intent signs with Arkansas