4-star cornerback Stephen Roberts obviously thinks highly of the education he could potentially receive at Auburn, but the same could not be said of Alabama, in his opinion.
In fact, it would seem as if he believes Alabama's education is rather pedestrian. More accurately, he considers it to be just "OK."
Here's the quote from Roberts that's sure to stir up both sides of the bitter rivalry, as he described what he liked about both programs, in a report via Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com:
The 6-foot, 180-pound corner has also added offers from Florida State, Georgia Tech and Kentucky since landing his first two. But the two in-state rivals are out front early.
"Alabama, I see good looking players and their education is OK, but it's not better than Auburn," he said. "I know Auburn has great education. And I know Alabama pushes their players very hard. I know Auburn has a lot of energy right now.
Now, let's be extremely clear before we move on. I'm sure that Roberts didn't mean this as an intentional dig at Alabama (though it is a dig none the less), so let's take his name out of this from here on out (here's looking at you comments section).
Roberts just stated his opinion, and for all intents and purposes, it seems to be innocent enough.
Take the player out of the equation and let's just focus on the statements themselves. Alabama has just an "OK" education, while Auburn has "great education."
Is the difference between Alabama and Auburn's education really that noticeable? At least in one notable opinion it is, and it's hard to believe that there's only one recruit out there that feels that way.
On the recruiting trail, perception is often times reality...
The kicker is, according to the education info we could find, Roberts' reality does not match up with the facts.
Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com shared the academic progress rates of all of the SEC football programs back in 2012. According to Aschoff, the APR "measures the eligibility, retention and graduation of Division 1 student-athletes."
Vanderbilt was first on that list with a 978 APR. Alabama was fourth with a 970 APR. Auburn was 11th with a 943 APR.
In October of 2012, George Schroeder of USA Today Sports wrote a piece that talked about the graduation success rate of certain NCAA programs. Here's the info on some notable SEC teams, including Alabama:
Meanwhile, the Southeastern Conference's football dominance might extend to the classroom, too, at least as measured by the GSR. Of teams currently in the coaches poll, the SEC had five of the top 13 when ordered by GSR. Football heavyweights LSU (No 6, 77% GSR), Alabama (No. 7, 75%) and Florida (No. 8, 75%) led the way for the SEC. Those teams are all in the top six of the coaches poll.
Finally, U.S. News did a National University Rankings list. Alabama was ranked No. 77 nationally. Auburn was ranked No. 89.
The numbers sure seem to back Alabama up in this instance, and for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, this is just yet another advantage on the recruiting trail.
As stated earlier though, perception is reality in recruiting, and I wonder how many recruits would actually take the time to look up those numbers and check out the facts in regards to each school's educational rankings.
It may just be easier to listen to what Roberts thinks and take that as fact. These are high schoolers we're talking about, remember.
Roberts is the 11th-best player from the state of Alabama according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, so he certainly qualifies as a thought leader amongst recruits. If he thinks that Auburn's education is better, other recruits may be apt to listen and make their own assumptions based off of his opinion.
I often times say that where one big-time recruit goes, others tend to follow, right? Well, that also applies to opinions. The thoughts of an elite recruit can often times be passed on to the others. After all, recruiting is as much about momentum, hype and perception as it is about football.
Sometimes facts can be thrown out the window in favor of hype—positive or negative.
Unfortunately, in this case Alabama could be getting an unfair reputation, while in reality, Saban's program matches up very nicely against Auburn.