Linebacker Reuben Foster's decision to renege on his verbal commitment to Alabama and to play instead for the Crimson Tides’ archival, the Auburn Tigers, will add fire to this already heated rivalry.
Alabama vs. Auburn is the best rivalry in college football. The two SEC giants have storied football programs and the entire state is engrossed in their matchups.
While the vast majority of fans deal with each other respectfully, the intense emotional nature of the rivalry produced an extremely unfortunate incident in 2011, when Harvey Updyke, an Alabama fan, poisoned two historic trees on the Auburn campus.
Although crimes like this are extraordinarily rare—make no mistake—Alabamians take this rivalry seriously.
This rivalry has so much history that Foster’s snub by itself will not push feelings of resentment too much further.
However, Foster’s decision to attend Auburn gives the Tigers an incredible defensive recruiting class.
Defensive lineman Carl Lawson and Dee Liner are already committed to Auburn. Rivals.com ranks the two players as the No. 14 and No. 15 prospects in the nation, respectively.
Alabama had the top-ranked defense this past season, and the smothering unit led the Tide to a national championship. Nick Saban is a brilliant defensive strategist and an excellent recruiter, and it will be a safe bet that Alabama’s defense will still be elite when the Auburn recruits are ready to make an impact.
While the snub will get Alabama fans a little peeved, it will not lead to a serious escalation in the rivalry. However, if Foster is leading an elite Auburn defense into Tuscaloosa in a few years and the two teams are facing off in a hard-hitting blood bath, tensions will be running high.
The linebacker’s presence in the 2013 recruiting class for Auburn gives them a much better chance to compete with the Crimson Tide down the road, and that will make this amazing rivalry even more intense.