To call the recruitment of 5-star linebacker Reuben Foster a roller coaster would be an understatement.
The 6'1", 240-pound middle linebacker from Auburn (Ala.) High School committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide on July 18, 2011, only to flip to arch-rival Auburn nearly a year later on July 12, 2012. The flip was complete with a not-so-subtle jab at current Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon, who flipped from Auburn to Alabama shortly before National Signing Day in 2012.
Foster then decommitted from the Auburn Tigers on Dec. 7, 2012, shortly before the recruiting dead period which ran from Dec. 17, 2012 through Jan. 3, 2013.
But despite his decommitment, Foster has maintained interest in the Auburn program. Can the Tigers get him back on board?
It certainly looks possible.
Foster told the New College Football Show: Next Class 2013 on Fox Sports South that he will visit Auburn the weekend of Feb. 2—the last weekend before National Signing Day on Feb. 6.
That's good news for Auburn, especially considering the Tigers can offer two things that Foster said that he stated are important to him—playing time and family.
"Playing time. It's all about that for me," Foster said on the broadcast. "At Auburn, I have a feeling they're going to throw me in the fire. They needed help. They don't want help, they need help."
New defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson's arrival on the Plains will signal a fresh start for everyone on the Tiger defense, including in the linebacking corps. Jonathan Evans and Daren Bates are gone, and Jake Holland—last season's starter at middle linebacker—wasn't exactly setting the world on fire last season with all of the tackles he missed.
If Foster signs with Auburn, he'll be on the field on opening night in some way, shape or form.
He would also be right down the road from his family, including his two-year old daughter.
"I'm just a family dude," Foster said. "I just want to stay close to my little girl and my mother."
Those are certainly two eye-opening quotes if you're an Auburn fan.
Sports Illustrated conducted a study last January and found that 73 of the 500 players in the Rivals100 from 2007-2011 decommitted at some point during the recruiting process; and 62 of the 73 didn't sign with the school in which they originally pledged. While that would technically mean that the odds are stacked against Alabama, it certainly doesn't bode well for Auburn either.
But the Tigers get the last at-bat to secure his services and make a good final impression the week of National Signing Day, which suggests that they could be the exception.
Foster has already visited Washington and Alabama, and will visit Georgia the weekend of Jan. 26.