Technically, five-star Auburn, Ala., linebacker Reuben Foster can't sign a letter of intent to attend his hometown school until next February, at the very earliest, which would normally give rival suitors a little more than six months to undo his recent verbal commitment to the Tigers. But in his own way, Foster already has put that pledge in ink, in the form of a new forearm tattoo that promises to make any defection from Auburn… well, awkward, to say the least.
Multiple pictures of the new tat surfaced Friday on Twitter, one day after Foster switched his commitment from Alabama to Auburn in a press conference featuring both outrageously subtle trolling of the Crimson Tide and outrageous adorability on the part of Foster's daughter. One of the pics came from a former high school teammate in LaGrange, Ga., three-star safety prospect Cortez Leonard, who informed followers that, sic, "Reuben said 'get in ink'!" Foster decided to move from LaGrange to Auburn for his senior year in April, shortly after the departure of his head coach at Troup County High, fueling rumors that he was bound to flip on Alabama after a few months of hanging with the teenage sons of Auburn assistants Curtis Luper and Trooper Taylor. It only took a few months.
And perhaps that should say he flipped off Alabama: No player with an Auburn logo permanently emblazoned on his body, surrounded by what appears to be some kind of exploding spider web, is about to be re-seduced by the siren call of Nick Saban. The more interesting question now is just how persistent Saban and fellow recruiting giants of the SEC are going to be.
At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Foster is unanimously regarded as the top linebacker in the entire 2013 recruiting class, and among of the top handful of players at any position; like most other sites, MaxPreps ranks him as the No. 3 overall prospect in the country heading into the season. In other words, he's a big fish opposing coaches aren't going to let get away with a fight. To date, Auburn has commitments from two other five-star defenders in the 2013 class, Alpharetta, Ga., defensive end Carl Lawson, and Muscle Shoals, Ala., defensive tackle Dee Liner (assuming the latter survives his recent legal issues), as well as a pledge from touted Lawrenceville linebacker Trey Johnson. If it stays together through signing day, that group could arrive next year as arguably the best incoming defensive class in college football. For now, Gene Chizik can probably sleep easy over at least one of them.