Buddah's On Board

After a day of what some labeled Mama Drama, Fort Lauderdale (FL) South Plantation five-star tailback Alex Collins (5-11, 207) officially signs with the University of Arkansas and becomes the Razorbacks' 23rd signee of the 2013 class.

Mama Drama is over – if at least just temporarily - and five-star college football prospect Alex Collins is a Razorback.

Collins (5-11, 207), arguably the nation's top tailback and nicknamed "Buddah", signed with Arkansas on Thursday – a day after he tried to do so but his mom Andrea McDonald absconded with his original letter-of-intent.

That led to a second LOI being sent and Collins – a star the past two seasons at Fort Lauderdale (FL) South Plantation – becoming the 23rd Razorback signee of the 2013 class when his dad Johnny Collins signed the LOI.

"I'd like to take my talents to the University of Arkansas," Collins said while signing the letter of intent at Bokamper's restaurant.

Arkansas confirmed soon afterwards that his letter of intent had been received from a player ranked the number three tailback in the country by Scout.com and a top 20 player overall nationally.

That certainly made new Razorback head coach Bret Bielema happy along with Arkansas running back coach Joel Thomas and assistant coach Charlie Partridge, who headed his recruitment.

"Alex is a great addition to this class," Coach 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," Bielema added. "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," Bielema continued.

Arkansas signed four players from South Florida in this class.

"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."

He told South Florida Sun Sentinel writer Steve Gorten he never wavered on his decision to sign with the Razorbacks.

"I didn't think about going anywhere else because I had my mind set," Collins said.

He chose Arkansas over Miami, Florida, Florida State and Wisconsin.

"It wasn't necessarily something that turned me off about Miami," Collins told Gorten. "I love Miami. It's a great place...But I'm not making a decision for everyone else. I'm making a decision for me and I feel I should go to Arkansas."

Collins – who showed up in complete camo attire - rushed for over 1,400 yards last season and over 1,700 yards as a junior in his first year of organized football.

He had called his dad on Wednesday after his mom left with his original intent.

"I was upset that he was upset," Johnny Collins said. "And I am glad it is over with."

His mom – who did not attend he ceremony - hired a lawyer Wednesday morning from the Cochran Firm, founded by former O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran.

A press release says McDonald hired the lawyer to represent the family "while she contemplates on signing the NCAA's Letter of Intent."

The National Letter of Intent, according to the NCAA's official website, is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution.

"If you are under the age of 21, regardless of marital status, your parent or legal guardian must sign the NLI in order for it to be considered valid," the website states.

Collins said he did not know his mom had hired an attorney and that she was on board now with his decision.

"I just talked to my mom and let her know," Collins said. "I explained myself and we had a better understanding."

He said before the signing that she was just showing care and concern.

"It is not necessarily her not wanting me to go to Arkansas, it was because she cares about me so much that she doesn't want me to make the wrong decision," Collins told CBS4 in Miami. "It was basically giving me time to sit down and make this decision because this is where I am going to be the next four years of my life.

"It is just her care inside that I am going to leave the state and am I comfortable with that," Collins added. "I understand. She gives me that time to think about it and I am pretty sure this is what I want to do and where I want to go.

"I respect her and understand why she did it - to give me more time and to let me really think about signing that paper," Collins continued. "I respect it and I still love my mom."

Arkansas' class is now ranked as high as 22 by one national recruiting service and no lower than 34rd in any of the four major services.

The Razorbacks jumped over 20 spots this week with the addition of Collins, four-star Miami (FL) Booker T. Washington offensive lineman Denver Kirkland (6-5, 335) and Egg Harbor City (NJ) Cedar Creek quarterback Damon Mitchell (6-3, 205).

Mitchell, nicknamed Duwop and previously committed to Georgia Tech, was one of seven players who were originally committed to other schools that flipped to Arkansas once Beielema and his staff arrived in Fayetteville.

The Collins signing means that Arkansas has now landed the 17th-best player in the country in both football and basketball with the Razorback hoops program signing Little Rock Hall forward Bobby Portis (6-10, 220) back in November.

Arkansas' football class now has arguably the best tailback in the country and the best tight end in Pulaski Academy's Hunter Henry (6-6, 240), the Parade All-American first-team tight end and ranked third nationally by Scout.com.





Alex Collins at his signing day ceremony with his dad Johnny and his grandma Betty.





Alex Collins


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