It was rumored for months and at a Thursday afternoon press conference whispers turned to reality as Auburn (Ala.) linebacker Reuben Foster publicly flipped his verbal commitment from Alabama to Auburn in a victory that was the recruiting equivalent of an Iron Bowl blockbuster.
Foster committed to the Crimson Tide nearly a year to the day (July 18, 2011) that he decommitted and frequently talked about the praises of the program at various games, camps and other events. He recently declared himself "100% committed" to Alabama but it was clear the recruiting process appeared to weigh heavily on the 6-foot-1, 240-pounder, who was still hearing from college coaches on a near constant basis.
"Over the last few weeks I've really put a lot of thought and time into where I will play football," Foster said at a press conference at his high school. "I want to make an announcement so I can put this behind me and get in all the work I need to do for high school and to get better for college both academically and athletically. I am going to enroll at Auburn University."
The No. 3 overall player in the class of 2013 according to MaxPreps and the top linebacker in the country, Foster left Troup County High School in LaGrange, Ga. several months ago after his head coach was fired. He transferred to Auburn, Ala. shortly thereafter, prompting speculation that he would eventually flip his pledge to the Tigers, where he was being recruited by assistant Trooper Taylor.
"I have a lot of respect for Alabama and the coaches and all of the other people and fans," Foster said. "At the end of the day, I feel Auburn University is the place for me and my family and I am 100 percent confident in my final decision. I feel great about my decision and I'm excited to get started."
Georgia was also a major player for Foster as his best friend, top 100 safety Tray Matthews, is committed to the Bulldogs. Both have pledged to play at the same college together and recently took a pair of unofficial visits to Athens but it's possible that Matthews will wind up flipping sooner rather than later.
Foster recently competed at The Opening but had to withdraw from the event early after pulling his hamstring running the 40-yard dash on the first day. In lieu of sticking around at Nike headquarters, he opted instead to take an unofficial visit to Washington before returning home.
The shocking flip caps off an up-and-down 24 hours for Auburn's program after defensive line commit Dee Liner was arrested for the second time in as many weeks. Foster's verbal gives the Tigers 16 commitments for the upcoming class and becomes the highest ranked player of the group as well. He was a monster on the field last year as a junior, recording 144 tackles and 14 sacks.