Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Alabama Crimson Tide [Print without images]

Monday, February 4, 2013
The O-zone: Reuben Foster prediction

By Greg Ostendorf

The O-zone will be released on Tuesday this week with analysis and predictions on where Alabama’s remaining targets will land on signing day, but with Reuben Foster’s decision on tap for Monday night, we wanted to break down his pending decision a day early.

The recruit

LB Reuben Foster: There hasn’t been a recruitment quite like Foster’s -- maybe ever. The ESPN 150 linebacker originally committed to Alabama the summer before his junior year. However, when he moved from Georgia to Alabama last spring and transferred to Auburn High School, that changed everything. Just months later, Foster flipped his pledge from the Tide to the Tigers and went as far as to get an Auburn tattoo on his arm. Still, it was far from over. Both Alabama and Georgia continued to recruit him, and when former AU coach Gene Chizik was let go along along with his staff, Foster opted to reopen his recruitment. Since then he’s taken all five of his official visits, including trips to San Diego State and Washington. At 9 p.m. CT on Monday, he’s expected to choose between Alabama, Auburn and Georgia.

The finalists

Alabama: It’s the school Foster committed to the first time around. He’s familiar with the staff, specifically defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who’s been his main recruiter throughout the process. He’s developed friendships with both Alvin Kamara and Dee Liner, two ESPN 150 stars who are expected to sign with the Tide this Wednesday. The downside is early playing time. Foster might see the field sooner at the other two schools.

Auburn: Foster lives in their backyard. He’s familiar with the program, even with the new coaching staff, because he’s always around it. His family lives in Auburn, which is important because of his little girl. He has a chance to come in and play right away for the Tigers. Also, the tattoo would make more sense if he signs with Auburn. However, the loss of former AU assistant coach Trooper Taylor was a big blow to the Tigers’ chances.

Georgia: The Bulldogs are considered the darkhorse here. If Foster had stayed in Georgia and finished his high school career there, they might have been the favorite. He still spent a lot of time in the Peach State and developed relationships with fellow UGA commitments, including one of his best friends Tray Matthews. Still, the fact that Georgia made an unsuccessful attempt at Liner last week is a bad sign for their chances with Foster.

The prediction

A week ago, many felt Foster was headed to Auburn. However, after sources confirmed that he left his official visit on The Plains to make a surprise visit to Alabama this past weekend, it’s the Tide who have become the team to beat. His mother was in Auburn on Sunday talking to the coaches, but it seems clear that Foster wants to play for Alabama.

Note: Even with a commitment tonight, this one is still far from over. Don’t be surprised if Foster picks Alabama tonight and ends up signing somewhere else.