Cyrus Kouandjio To Alabama: What It Means for the Tide, Tigers and the Iron Bowl
Whew. Five-star offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio has finally made his decision and has officially sent off his letter of intent. Good for him. Kouandjio fell under much public ridicule and scrutiny for announcing his decision on ESPN last week, and then backing out and not faxing his letter of intent.
Initially, the super athletic left tackle chose to sign with the National Champion Auburn Tigers. He announced that choice in front of microphones, fans, friends, family and the entire country. The Tigers' fax machine never rang from the Maryland area and rumors started to swirl.
Let's take a look at what happened, and how he ended up saying Roll Tide and not War Eagle.
Prior to NSD, Kouandjio had eliminated USC as he chose to visit Iowa over the Trojans. At the start of the day, Auburn, Alabama, Iowa and New Mexico were all still alive. Alabama had always been the favorite for Kouandjio, with many Tide fans talking him up like he was already theirs.
It came down to Kouandjio to decide and even at his press conference, something seemed off about his demeanor. When he announced he was to sign with Auburn, there was hesitation in his voice and an uncertain demeanor in his facial expression and body language. Even experts immediately started questioning Kouandjio.
After Kouandjio announced his decision, we took him for his word, but in the back of our mind we were thinking, "Cyrus didn't look comfortable with his announcement, hmmm."
Moments later, the report came out that Kouandjio was not 100 percent sure of his choice, and was not faxing his decision. Rumors swirled and the offensive lineman began to draw scrutiny his way.
Kouandjio then released a statement saying he wasn't sure and needed more time to decide and time to spend with his family. His high school coach released a statement and Koaundjio went to school the next day to get his mind off of everything.
There were constant updates regarding Koaundjio and rumors were running rampant. Could he actually choose New Mexico? Would he signed with Auburn after all?
No. On Saturday, after word had leaked on Friday, Arie Koaundjio, Cyrus' brother tweeted that Cyrus was signing with the Crimson Tide, and officially faxing his letter of intent.
Cyrus put a Roll Tide on his Facebook account and was a confirmed member of the 2011 Alabama football recruiting class.
What Does This Mean for Alabama?
Getting possibly the most athletic left tackle prospect since Andre Smith is huge for the Crimson Tide.
The Crimson Tide already have a plethora of solid offensive linemen up and down the depth chart, including Arie Kouandjio, yet Cyrus will make a difference. He has the tools to start in his freshman season and develop into an All-SEC performer in his sophomore season.
Alabama's recruiting class, already ranked No.1 by most observers, became even stronger, believe it or not, with the addition of Cyrus Kouandjio.
Where Does Auburn Go from Here?
Nowhere really. Auburn clearly signed the most talented offensive class in the country, even without Kouandjio. The Tigers got Reese Dismukes, Thomas O'Reily, Greg Robinson and Christian Westerman. Wow.
While losing out on Koaundjio was a stinging blow, especially to arch nemesis Alabama, Auburn is fine. If they want to add another lineman for the 2010 class, they could take another dip into the JUCO or prep school ranks to see if anyone is there.
But really, Auburn is fine.
Where Does Kouandjio Fit in Tuscaloosa?
Cyrus Koaundjio is a prototypical left tackle and has the tools to start very early in his true freshman season.
Although Alabama has tackles like DJ Fluker, Alfred McCullough and Tyler Love on its roster, Koaundjio has more potential than they do. He's that good. He'll need to refine himself as a pass protector, but the 6'7", 325 pounder is so athletic that his pass protection skills will become his strength in the near future.
Koaundjio has the potential to be a first round NFL Draft pick. Look for him to show that at left tackle in Tuscaloosa.
What Does This Mean For the Iron Bowl?
Nick Saban and Gene Chizik are already developing a rivalry, and being the head men at Alabama and Auburn respectively won't help them become fishing buddies.
The Iron Bowl just got more interesting for the next three to five years as Koaundjio surely will be booed when he plays at Jordan-Hare stadium.
If you were looking for any gas to be thrown on the Tigers vs. Crimson Tide rivalry saga, Cyrus Koaundjio did just that by committing to Auburn and ultimately backing out to sign with Alabama.