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Arkansas Gets Running Back Even After Mom Refuses to Sign Letter

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Alex Collins, one of the top-rated high school running backs in the nation, is headed to the University of Arkansas, a day after his mother refused to sign his letter of intent to play at the school.

Collins, who is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, faxed the form -- which included his father’s signature as well as his own -- to the university in Fayetteville, Arkansas, today. The Arkansas football program confirmed receiving Collins’s letter of intent on its official Twitter page.

“It feels good to finally get it out of the way and get it done,” Collins said in a television interview with CBS’s affiliate in Miami. “Yesterday it was kind of crazy.”

The 5-foot-11, 207-pound Collins, who previously gave a verbal commitment to attend the University of Miami, said on Feb. 4 that he instead intended to sign with Arkansas. His status became vague yesterday, when high school football players had their first chance to make a written commitment to a school under National Collegiate Athletic Association rules.

Collins’s signing ceremony at his high school was canceled after his mother refused to sign his letter of intent. NCAA rules state that prospects under the age of 21 must have a parent or legal guardian sign the form in order for it to be considered valid. The new Arkansas coach, Bret Bielema, said at the school’s signing-day news conference last night that he couldn’t discuss Collins because he wasn’t among the recruits who sent in their letters of intent.

“It’s not necessarily her not wanting me to go to Arkansas,” Collins told CBS4 in Miami today. “It was because she cares about me so much that she doesn’t want me to make the wrong decision. It was basically giving me enough time to sit down and think, because this is where I’ll be spending the next four years of my life.”

Mother’s Concern

Collins’s mother, Andrea McDonald, wasn’t in attendance at his signing today. Alex Collins told CBS4 that his mother is fine with his decision and disputed reports that she had run off with his paperwork yesterday.

“I understand, she gives me that time to think about it,” Collins said in the interview with CBS4. “I’m pretty sure this is what I want to do and where I want to go. I respect her and why she did it, to give me more time, to let me really think about signing that paper. I still love my mom.”

Collins was the seventh-rated high school running back in the U.S. and No. 57 prospect, according to ESPN’s Recruiting Nation. He rushed for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior at South Plantation High School even though he missed three games due to injury.

As a junior, he was named the Broward County Player of the Year after rushing for 1,786 yards and 28 touchdowns.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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