Auburn Football Recruiting: Why Reuben Foster Is Auburn's Most Important Target

Brett Mixon@@TrueBlueAUContributor IFebruary 3, 2013

Photo via 247sports
Photo via 247sports

Monday evening will bring an end to one of the most dramatic, topsy-turvy recruitments that the Southeast has seen in quite some time when 5-star linebacker Reuben Foster makes his college choice between Alabama, Georgia and Auburn (h/t 247Sports). 

At least we think it will come to an end.

The 48 hours between Monday and national signing day on Wednesday are crazier than watching the popular TV show, The First 48 on A&E. 

You can watch the announcement live on Fox Sports South at 10:00 p.m. EST on Monday night. 

Despite Foster's flair for the dramatic in his recruitment, he is Auburn's most important target going into the final week of the 2013 recruiting season because of the position he plays and the recruiting momentum he would give Auburn should he choose the Tigers on Monday. 

Foster's story begins in the summer of 2011, when he committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Originally from Troup County, Ga., Foster transferred to Auburn High School in Alabama after the departure of his high school coach. 

While he remained committed to the Crimson Tide during and after transferring to Auburn High School, the pressure of being so close to Auburn University, the previous coaching staff and their children (his teammates) took its toll. 

He decommitted from Alabama and switched his commitment to Auburn. Foster made news when he had Auburn's "AU" logo tattooed on his forearm. 

When former head coach Gene Chizik was fired, Foster remained committed. It was when assistant coach Trooper Taylor was fired that Foster decided to open back up his recruitment. 

Foster has made the most of his recruitment, going on official visits to San Diego State and the University of Washington. He has also formed bonds with Auburn's new coaches. 

And here we are, on the last weekend before he announces his college choice. Would you expect anything less than more drama? Foster started the weekend out on an official visit to Auburn as one of four 5-stars officially visiting the Plains. 

Reports surfaced on Saturday evening that Foster had left his official visit at Auburn to go to Tuscaloosa. That is, of course, home to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Don't you just love recruiting season?

Signs are beginning to point toward Alabama head coach Nick Saban being able to pull off yet another monster recruiting class that includes Foster.

Auburn needs to rally in Foster's recruitment to shore up the linebacker position.

Since the departure of former middle linebacker Josh Bynes, Auburn has struggled to find the productivity it needs in the middle of its defense at the linebacker position. 

Bynes was the unquestioned leader of the 2010 defense that ranked ninth in the country in rushing defense.

In 2011, Auburn platooned linebackers Jake Holland and Eltoro Freeman at the middle linebacker position.

In 2012, Holland and Cassanova McKinzy saw most of the action at middle linebacker. A less-than-100-percent Holland and an inexperienced McKinzy were not able to get the job done. Missed tackles and the ability to get off blocks were a problem for both as the Tigers front seven were pushed around all season long. 

If Foster chooses Auburn on Monday, he will immediately be considered a factor in the race to be one of Johnson's two starting linebackers in his 4-2-5 scheme in 2013. 

The No. 1 inside linebacker in the 247Sports composite rankings was a man among boys at the high school level in 2013. His 6'1", 245-pound frame to go along with his 4.5 40-yard dash makes him ready to play against SEC competition from the time he steps on campus. 

Don't believe me? Just watch his scouting report from the good folks over at Bleacher Report's Full Ride. 

You can see how well he reads his keys and fills running lanes. He has fantastic closing speed and he plays with a physicality and an attitude that is needed in the middle of an SEC defense. 

Away from the field, Auburn needs Foster to start the recruiting momentum leading up to national signing day on Feb. 6. 

Foster is a character who has proven to be magnetic with other recruits. He will have 48 hours to join the Auburn coaching staff to recruit other elite prospects to join him in the 2013 recruiting class. 

In this day and age, elite prospects want to play with other elite prospects. 

Also on Monday, Auburn will find out if 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson will remain committed to the Tigers after flirtations with Clemson and Tennessee. If both prospects choose Auburn, momentum on the recruiting trail will be as high as it has been since Auburn finished with the No. 4 recruiting class in 2010. 

If things go Auburn's way on a big weekend of official visits, head coach Gus Malzahn's first class could wind up in the top 10. If Foster commits to Auburn on Monday, it could be the spark that it needs.

A spark is all it takes for a fire to get started. 


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