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Monday, February 4, 2013
Foster shows Smart's recruiting power

By Greg Ostendorf

Now that Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) has committed to the University of Alabama, the question is, will it stick through signing day?

Regardless of what happens from here, Foster’s decision on Monday shows the relentless pursuit that Kirby Smart and the Crimson Tide coaching staff had throughout the process.

Even when Foster flipped from Alabama to Auburn over the summer and went as far as to get an Auburn tattoo on his arm, the Alabama coaches didn’t give up. Smart was talking to him just a few weeks later about removing the tattoo and coming back to the Tide.

It has been a wild ride, one that might not be over, but if he does in the end sign with Alabama, the Tide will be getting a very good football player.

Foster is the top inside linebacker in the ESPN 150 and ranked No. 16 overall. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound prospect trimmed down this season and looked much improved from the summer. He played some of his best football last month at the Under Armour All-America Game.

At Alabama, he projects to play one of the inside linebacker spots. He might not break the rotation as a freshman with C.J. Mosley coming back and Trey DePriest stepping into a larger role, but don’t be surprised if he sees the field in some capacity, possibly on special teams.

Down the road, Foster has an opportunity to carry on Alabama’s legacy of great linebackers. Since Nick Saban took over, the Tide have sent a number of defensive players to the NFL, including former star linebackers Rolando McClain and Dont’a Hightower, both of whom were taken in the first round of the NFL draft.

Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw just missed the first round a year ago, but he helped lead the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl victory this season as a rookie.

But before we start looking too far ahead, Foster has to sign with Alabama. The commitment on Monday was a huge first step, but it’s not over until he signs on the dotted line.