Alabama notched a National Signing Day win last week with the commitment of five-star linebacker Rashaan Evans. Many believed the Auburn, Ala. native would stay home with the Tigers, but ever since Evans put on a Crimson Tide hat in a nationally televised announcement life has not been the same.
Evans told Rivals' Alabama site, TideSports.com, that the frustration from Auburn fans has not been limited to social media or message boards. According to the linebacker, people have told local restaurants not to serve Evans' family and others have been trying to get Evans in trouble at school.
"It's getting worse," Evans said on Monday evening. "Someone actually put out an article about my family's business telling all Auburn fans not to go there. We are going to eventually start losing money. People are telling restaurants in the town not to serve us.
"It's hard for me to go out and chill with my friends like I have always done because people keep coming up to me telling me I made a bad decision. It's grown men. They are asking me why I did this to them. I told them I had to do what is best for me.
"You know I knew this would happen. I knew people would be mad and say stuff. I didn't think it would be like this. It wasn't a complete shock to me, but I guess that's just how fans are.
"It's just crazy right now. What's getting crazy is people are going to the board at my school trying to get me in trouble. They are telling my teachers I am a bad kid and all this stuff. It's just bad right now.
"Social media has definitely been the worst. People on Instagram are telling me how they hope I tear my ACL in game one. They will laugh when I do. They are saying my family is horrible and how they didn't raise me right. It's just crazy."
Hopefully these are the actions of a few on the lunatic fringe, rather than a majority of the Auburn community. The success of both programs in the last half-decade has only heightened the stakes of in-state recruiting, and Evans, assumed to be an Auburn lean by many, was the one of the highest ranked uncommitted prospects heading into the final days of recruiting.
The hometown harassment will hopefully stop soon, but no Auburn fans will forget getting spurned by the star on signing day.
All I did was commit to a university to get my education and pursue my dreams but a whole city gone try and treat me like I'm satan #Really— Rashaan Evans (@616evans4) February 11, 2014