Matt Jones has been the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2010. He is also a feature writer for Hawgs Illustrated magazine and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in journalism.
Alex Collins signs with Arkansas
One of the nation's best running backs, Alex Collins has committed to Arkansas.
FAYETTEVILLE Alex Collins signed with Arkansas on Thursday, ending a 24-hour whirlwind for one of the nation's top high school running backs.
Collins, a Miami-area standout, didn't show up at his scheduled Signing Day ceremony at South Plantation High School on Wednesday. According to reports, Collins' mother confiscated his national letter of intent — a binding document between a student-athlete and university — at the school and drove away.
The mother, identified by the Miami Herald as Andrea McDonald, hired an attorney Thursday to "protect the family's interests" and to clear up "any false or inaccurate statements in the press," according to a news release. Collins' older brother, Johnny, told the Miami Herald on Wednesday that the family wants the high school senior to attend the University of Miami.
Alex Collins orally committed to Arkansas on Monday on a Fox Sports South telecast. He had other notable scholarship offers from Miami, Florida, Florida State and Wisconsin.
Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema couldn't comment on Collins during a previously scheduled news conference Wednesday per NCAA rules, but offered his assessment on the 5-foot-11, 207-pound back quickly following his signing Thursday.
“Alex is a great addition to this class,” Bielema said. “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. Our goal was to add two running backs in this class to help us with numbers at the position, and Alex was a priority for his on-field impact and the person he is off the field. We have coaches on our staff with tremendous relationships in south Florida that have been crucial for us in this class, and we will continue to establish Arkansas as a choice for top student-athletes from that area. I am looking forward to having this class become part of our family and watching them grow over the next several years.”
Collins, the program's 23rd signee this recruiting season, is considered the top prospect in Arkansas' 2013 signing class. He is one of four players who signed with Arkansas from the Miami area, where Razorbacks assistant coaches Randy Shannon and Charlie Partridge are considered to have strong recruiting ties.
Arkansas had only one player from Florida on its roster last season.