Cyrus Kouandjio to Auburn: Sources Say No Letter of Intent

Anthony BarattaContributor IFebruary 2, 2011

What a major pickup this would be for, Auburn University.  If he can make up his mind to play there.
What a major pickup this would be for, Auburn University. If he can make up his mind to play there.

The best lineman, in the 2011 recruiting class is off the boards, and headed to Auburn University…

Well, maybe not just yet.

Just a few hours ago, it seemed that Cyrus Kouandjio was headed to Auburn University.  Via press conference on ESPNU, he told reporters and the college football world he’d be donning a Tigers uniform, next season. "I got no sleep last night going through this process,” Kouandjio said. "It was a lot of thinking to get to this result." 

Now everything may have changed. A few hours after the conference, he posted on his Twitter account: "I have big doubts about my decision. I feel like I may have made the wrong choice."  

Even though he has verbally committed to Auburn, Kouandjio can still back out and choose either New Mexico, or the Crimson Tide of Alabama. He may have some more incentive to play for the latter, since his brother Aire is signed on with Alabama. A verbal commitment is not considered a binding contract to play for a school next season. 

The latest reports have stated that Kouandjio will wait to sign his letter of intent. This makes it hard to tell when or even where he will sign up to play in 2011. If he keeps to his word, then Auburn University has gotten a major upgrade for their offensive line. 

Auburn has already signed two other big names (and big men) today. Offensive tackle Christian Westerman, considered to be the top interior lineman of 2011, backed out on his commitment to Texas. Just hours later, he signed on to play at Auburn. Reese Dismukes, a top recruit at center, has also signed with the Tigers. These two recruits give Auburn solid building blocks after losing four offensive linemen to graduation. 

However, the biggest prize is still out there in Cyrus Kouandjio. Kouandjio has had many scouts tripping all over themselves to sign him. It’s easy to understand why, when looking into his scouting report.

In terms of physical specimens, Kouandjio ranks second to none. He stands at 6'7" and 325 pounds. He has incredibly quick feet, and can take on almost any defensive player. His does a great job using his large frame to ward off the pass rush. Kouandjio has what many coaches call a "mean streak," and he loves to punish defenders that dare to challenge him.

The big question right now is: what is taking him so long to sign his letter of intent? That’s really anyone’s guess. Only a few hours after his verbal commitment, reports surfaced that Kouandjio was wavering on his decision, and that the other schools were back in play.

Kouandjio’s former head coach at DeMatha High School, Bill McGregor, stated that he would talk to Cyrus about his choice later today. He seemed shocked to hear that Cyrus might change his mind. 

"I don't know what to say," the coach said. "I don't know if it's a lot of drama about nothing or if he wants to change his mind." McGregor went on to say, “I'm as surprised as anyone else right now there are second thoughts. Once a kid says it [in front of the camera on signing day], that's usually it. It's signing day, I've never had this happen before. You say you're going there, that's where you're going and everybody is happy."

The signing of Kouandjio caused a celebration down in Auburn. There were loud cheers echoing throughout the sports complex. However, since news broke that Kouandjio was indeed wavering, the mood changed drastically.

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik has tried to keep thing under control as the Tigers wait on Kouandijo. During his press conference today, Chizik was asked about the recruiting class for 2011, to which he replied, "It's a great day for Auburn football.” 

When asked about Kouandijo, Chizik simply replied, "I'm only going to talk about the ones [recruits] we've got paperwork in and signed.”  

Will a decision come today from Kouandijo? Not likely. There are many reports, stating that he will take at least one more day to think things over.

Nevertheless, should Auburn get Kouandijo signed for 2011 by far and away, they have put together the best recruiting class of any school. Even without Kouandijo, Chizik and his staff have done all they can to give the Tigers a chance to repeat as champions next season.