Five-star linebacker Reuben Foster is the most valuable person in the Auburn Tigers' program right now, and he's only a verbal commit.
Some may view that as a indictment against Gene Chizik and his program, but in actuality, it's a glowing statement as to how valuable Foster has the potential to be for the Tigers.
Foster seems to be trying his best to keep the spirits of Auburn up, according to quotes via Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com:
"My Auburn family is going through a hard time, but I know great things are coming," Foster declared. "We don't need to let Auburn's losing streak get us down. No matter how much Auburn loses or wins, we all have to fight and the Auburn nation needs to pull behind us and the Auburn coaching staff."
He also gave a ringing endorsement to Chizik and the Tigers' coaching staff:
"He's staying and he's staying to build another national championship -- and it's starting with this 2013 class," said Foster.
"So to all my fellow commits, keep fighting and we're going to get some good players here and we're going to win a national championship. We need more people with the same mentality as us and on board for winning a national championship."
This is exactly what the Tigers need in order to build some positive momentum moving forward, and it appears that Foster is going to be more than just a talented player for Auburn. He's going to be a leader and a catalyst for change.
Remember, as it stands, Foster is just one of three 5-star recruits committed to Auburn's 2013 class. The Tigers also have the commitment of two 5-star defensive ends in Carl Lawson and Dee Liner, so if anything the future of their defensive front seven appears to be bright.
The trick here is that when you boil it down, success on the football field comes down to much more than talent.
Having talented players obviously plays a huge role in winning, but much of a football team's success derives from leadership. Coaching makes up most of that, but the intangible that most great teams have is leadership from their players.
Not only does Foster have the talent to be a leader on the field, but he obviously believes in the Tigers program, and that's going to pay huge dividends for Auburn.
The fact that such a talented recruit truly believes in Chizik and his program will cause other recruits to take notice now and in the future.
If a player as talented as Foster can see hope for the program, than there must be something worth checking out, right? After all, he had his chance to play for a dominant program in Alabama, but uncommitted, and he still could choose to sway away from Auburn, but he hasn't.
Will Gene Chizik restore Auburn back to elite status?
Foster displays the type of leadership and commitment that great programs are built on, and he has more than enough talent to back that up.
With a player like him at the forefront of the Tigers' program moving into the future, Auburn can slowly but surely rebuild themselves up to a National Championship level. He's presence alone will help attract more elite defensive recruits in the future, and his leadership and belief in the program will become contagious.
Things may be looking bad for Auburn right now on the football field, but the future of the program is bright with Reuben Foster as the leader.