It was the strangest story across the country on National Signing Day.
Plantation running back Alex Collins announced on television that he was going to sign with the Arkansas Raorbacks. His mother wanted him to stay closer to home and play for the University of Miami, the school he was once committed to. And rather than trust her son’s decision to play for the run-oriented Brett Bielema, she took off with Collins’ Letter of Intent.
Collins’ father signed the LOI for him the next day, causing his mother to hire an attorney in a last-ditch effort to keep Collins in South Florida. It was a sad situation that played out very publicly.
The worst part was that instead of talking about how talented of a player Arkansas was getting, the story was obviously all about the bizarre family spat. Collins was easily one of the best players in the state of Florida. I watched him put on an absolute show in Tallahassee during the Jimbo Fisher Camp last July.
Through three games this season, it would appear that perhaps Mom didn’t know best in this situation. Despite being the No. 2 running back behind sophomore Jonathan Williams, Collins has rushed for over 100 yards in all three games this season.
He debuted with 131 yards against Louisiana, then went for 172 yards against Samford and on Saturday he racked up 115 yards against Southern Mississippi. Collins is the first player in SEC history to rush for over 100 yards in his first three games and the first player to do it period since some guy named Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma.
Williams hasn’t been too shabby either, rushing for over 100 yard in each game as well. Williams has run for 396 yards and three touchdowns, while Collins leads the team with 422 yards and four touchdowns.
It would appear the running back duo has a chance to be a pretty good one for Bielema, who had a number of terrific tandems at Wisconsin (Monte Ball and James White, P.J. Hill and John Clay). Arkansas is no stranger to talented tailback tandems either, the Razorbacks once featured a backfield of Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis.
If Collins can continue to produce once conference play begins (Arkansas travels to Rutgers on Saturday and then faces Texas A&M at home on September 28) then perhaps the conversation will no longer center around his mother’s signing day protest.
How ofter do people talk about Adrian Peterson’s father now that he’s become the best running back in the NFL? Not all that often. And that’s how it should be.
Peterson and Collins have worked hard to be recognized for their accomplishments on the field, not for the actions of their parents.