College football prospect Alex Collins announced Thursday he was signing with the University of Arkansas even though his mother, who reportedly opposed him leaving South Florida, has hired a lawyer in the matter.
Thursday, a day after Collins told NBC 6 South Florida that he would sign with Arkansas, the South Plantation High School running back signed with the university during a gathering at Bokamper's Sports Bar and Grill in Plantation. The event drew many supporters, friends and relatives, including Collins' father and grandmother.
He also had been recruited by the University of Miami, Florida State, Florida and Wisconsin.
Collins said he loves the University of Miami, saying its NCAA issues didn't scare him away. But he said he chose the Razorbacks because he likes them more.
"Love the campus, I love the environment, I love the people," he said. "It is great up there."
Collins' mother, Andrea McDonald, was not present at Thursday's event. According to ESPN, McDonald had refused to sign her son's letter of intent Wednesday, when he was set to send it to Arkansas.
According to a press release issued Thursday, Andrea McDonald hired Miami attorney Jack Paris “to represent the family’s interests while she contemplates on signing the NCAA’s Letter of Intent that will decide where the South Plantation High School running back will play football."
Collins, ranked 57th by ESPN, verbally committed to University of Arkansas during a televised interview, according to the law firm's release. Collins had been a longtime commit to the University of Miami until he reopened his recruitment in November, the release said.
Under NCAA rules, a letter of intent for a student-athlete under the age of 21 must be signed by a parent or guardian in addition to the athlete himself.
Collins' father was on hand Thursday to sign with his son. When Alex Collins was told by a reporter at the signing event that his mother hired a laywer, Collins dismissed the possibility.
He said no lawyers were involved at all and said his mother supports his decision. He said he had just spoken to her before Thursday's signing.
"She always supported me," he said. "It is just the fact that from her standpoint, she wants to make sure this is the right decision for me."
Alex Collins has in recent days said he faced a tough decision.
Among his remarks on NBC 6's Signing Day special Wednesday, he said: "It's been stressful but I feel a lot of relief after I made my decision. I feel like everything will get easier now. I just have to sign that paper, and then everything else will be easy."
Collins' older brother Johnny had told The Miami Herald that McDonald had been having anxiety over Collins' signing.
"I know she preferred him to go to UM," he said. "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."
McDonald's lawyer is part of The Cochran Firm, which was founded more than 40 years ago by the late attorney Johnnie Cochran. The law firm over the years has represented celebrities and public figures, including Michael Jackson, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Pitbull and O.J. Simpson.
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