Minutes ago at a press conference in the Auburn High School media room, Reuben Foster—a 5-star recruit who some analysts have labeled the “best LB recruit in 15 years”—let the nation know that his yearlong pledge to Alabama was no longer intact. He now plans to attend arch-rival, Auburn University.
Auburn's ability to sway Foster from the University of Alabama, gives the Tigers both of the state's top two recruits—many see Foster and soon-to-be teammate Dee Liner as the only 5-star players from the state.
This is obviously a huge blow to the Tide, but what could this mean for Tigers fans? And what questions might be swirling through their minds?
Rueben Foster, formerly of Troup HS in Lagrange, GA, now attends Auburn HS just miles away from the Auburn University campus.
Foster was a key contributor to the Troup HS varsity football team since stepping on campus as a freshman, totaling over 110 tackles each season—including 185 tackles and 14 sacks in his junior campaign (rivals.com).
After his former head coach and mentor Charles Flowers was dismissed from his duties at Troup, Foster decided to spend his senior season elsewhere.
Since his move to Auburn High in the spring of 2012, I’m sure Foster has heard his fair share of “War Eagle!” chants, taken quite a few trips to Toomer’s Corner, and seen Jordan-Hare Stadium a number of times—all of which appear to have lured him away from the Crimson Tide.
Gene Chizik has not hidden the fact that he is willing to let young players see playing time as long as they first prove themselves on the practice field.
Jake Holland and Tray Blackmon are both recent Tigers who earned major playing time at inside linebacker (Foster’s position), their first years on the field—neither was as highly rated as Foster coming out of high school.
In 2011, 17 Auburn freshmen logged significant playing time—this number was second only to Texas who had 18 freshmen spend time on the field. These statistics coupled with Foster’s freakish talent makes it highly likely that Auburn fans will see him contribute his first year on the Plains (Ledger-Enquier).
As we have seen this offseason, many recruits are now labeling themselves as “package deals,”
Such is the case with Foster and his close friend—current Georgia commit—Tray Matthews.
The chances of Matthews now flipping his commitment are unknown, but there is a 100 percent chance that Foster will try to talk him in to doing so.
Also in this group of friends are 4-star speedy running back Alvin Kamara and 3-star defensive back Shaq Wiggans—who have pledged that they will attend school with Foster and Matthews.
Outside of this package deal, recruiting fans should not forget about 5-star DT Montravius Adams who has listed Auburn as one of his leaders for months now. The prospect of being part of arguably the best defensive recruiting class ever may be hard for the young man to pass on.
Foster is a tough, downhill player. A run-stopping/pass-rushing presence like his can pay off immediately for the Tigers.
Pairing him with the other highly sought after defensive recruits that have already committed to Auburn (Some of whom have found themselves in unfortunate situations), could set the Tigers up to have an amazing front seven for years to come.
Mixing Foster in with Jake Holland (the incumbent starter at inside linebacker), this year will offer a great change of pace for opponents to account for, and will also give Foster some much needed experience to draw upon when he is asked to take over as the leader of Brian VanGorder’s defense.
After watching Reuben Foster just decommit from their in-state rival, Auburn fans would be silly to think that he cannot do the same to the Tigers.
Sure, during the press conference Foster stated "I'm 100% confident with my final decision (Auburn)"—but this response is eerily similar to his statement to 247Sports six days ago at a recruiting event known as "The Opening."
There, when asked how he felt about his commitment he replied that he was still "100% committed" to Alabama.
Overall, Foster is a phenomenal talent who will produce for Auburn right away if they can hold onto him until signing day—but right now that seems like a very big "if."
Jeff Jones is a Contributor at Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained were first-hand.