Maybe Arkansas coach Bret Bielema should have just stayed up north in the Big Ten.
That way, he might not have to deal with the sometimes bizarre, always cutthroat world of recruiting in the SEC and the south in general.
The crown jewel of Bielema’s first class at Arkansas, Alex Collins, signed his Letter of Intent during a small news conference with his father on Thursday. It was faxed in and the superstar prep running back and Florida native should be headed to Fayetteville this summer — the operative phrase being ‘should be’.
Because the lawyers at the late Johnny Cochran’s law firm are going to dispute the meaning of that phrase in court, and at the behest of Collins’ own mother, no less.
Wednesday, Feb. 6 was officially National Signing Day. It is supposed to be the biggest day in the young life of a high school football star, when he picks the school, program and city he will be spending the next three-to-five years living in. However, Andrea McDonald is really, really uncomfortable with her baby boy heading so far from home.
She wants him to go to Miami, and now her team of lawyers is working to make that happen. On Singing Day itself, McDonald literally took her son’s Letter of Intent, sprinted out of the press conference called in his honor, and hid. Thus why he signed, with his old man, a day later. Now she and her lawyers are hoping to have the LOI voided so that he can sign with the Hurricanes and stay closer to home.
Collins had been committed to The U for quite some time, until at the last minute he decided to play for the Razorbacks instead. Bielema has been extremely vocal in his desire to run a smash-mouth, run-first offense as Arkansas’ new coach, and Collins is expected to be the back that Bielema rides to BCS glory.
However, a mother’s love is a mother’s love. Bielema probably spent plenty of time promising young Collins all the playing time in the world. However, a truly experienced recruiter understands that face time with the mother — and getting the mother to see campus — has proven to be imperative in the recruiting process. The SEC newbie should have been in her ear, promising academics, a diploma, a nice, smart girlfriend and more books than the star athlete can power clean.
Then again, she could just be a little “off her rocker.”