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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Prep WR eyes top 3, advises No. 1 ILB

By Kipp Adams

A former Lagrange (Ga.) Troup standout, wide receiver Christian Cumberlander enrolled at Jireh Prep last year in Indian Trail, N.C., and had a solid season, with 38 catches for 708 yards and six touchdowns in eight games.

Double-digit offers have come in for Cumberlander, who says he is now fully qualified -- but two offers seem to stand out at the moment. And the possibility of another offer has another prominent school heavily in the mix to land the 6-foot-2, 190-pound wideout.

Two of his three top schools also stand out for his close friend Reuben Foster, the No. 1 ILB in the nation.

“Right now I basically have it narrowed down to Houston, San Diego State and Auburn,” Cumberlander said.

The Cougars made the final group for Cumberlander after a coaching migration. Their chances, however, likely hinge on getting a late visit.

“When I was getting recruited to Oklahoma State, Coach [Doug] Meachum was there and then he went to Houston as offensive coordinator,” Cumberlander said. “I am trying to visit them before signing day, but if I cannot see them during the week, I will have to just make it work.”

As it stands, the Aztecs appear to be the favorites. San Diego State has been consistent in its efforts with Cumberlander since he got to prep school, and that paid off as they got him on campus for an official visit two weeks ago.

“I have built a strong relationship with the coaching staff there throughout the recruiting process,” Cumberlander said. “I love San Diego, Calif. It is a beautiful city, and I love the school, the coaching staff, the players and their offensive philosophy involving bigger receivers in a West Coast scheme.”

They could get Cumberlander back on campus this week, but at the very least they look to have two of his close friends in town later today.

“Me, Maurice Swain and Reuben Foster were together Sunday night and they said the San Diego State official is already set for them,” Cumberlander said. “I am trying to see if I can get my mom or dad to help me get a flight out to take an unofficial out there with them. Coach [LeCharls] McDaniel flew in the week before to visit me, and he asked me if I thought Reuben would be interested. I told him to give it a shot. He bonded with Reuben and Maurice, and then Coach [Ed] White came a week later and they told him they wanted to take an official and see what the program had to offer.”

The bond between the trio goes back several years to when they were all teammates.

“Reuben stayed with me at my house for three years in high school, and Maurice is like my cousin, so all of us have been going to school together and taking visits together; we built a tight-knit family bond,” Cumberlander said. “We talk about everything together.”

That includes recruiting, where Foster remains one of the most sought-after uncommitted talents. With a week to go until signing day, his decision is still very much in flux.

“One day it is one school, the next day it is another with Reuben Foster,” Cumberlander said. “He is like a book with blank pages, you cannot read him. It is up in the air right now for him."

Cumberlander and Swain tried to give Foster some helpful advice after he returned from his third official visit, to the University of Georgia.

“Sunday night me, my mom, Swain had a talk with him,” Cumberlander said. “Georgia would not be a bad situation for him because Athens is only about two-and-a-half hours away from him. That would not be a bad fit for him at all. We told him he had to do what was best for him and put himself in the best situation. He has his little girl to think about and his real family, but I could not name all of the people in his life he is trying to make happy and thinking about on a daily basis.”

Auburn is hoping to get Foster to recommit next Monday night, and the Tigers are in the top three for Cumberlander, even though they have yet to extend a scholarship. That could change this weekend, when Cumberlander and Foster take their final official visits, to Auburn. It will be their third trip to Auburn in the last three weeks, as they were on the Auburn campus Sunday night.

Tigers coach Gus Malzahn is doing his best to get Cumberlander excited about his potential in the Tigers' high-octante spread offense.

“Gus Malzahn put on the tape and told me that the ball will be in my hands and that he feels I can be the big receiver on the edge he needs in his offense,” Cumberlander said. “He told me not to run off before giving him a chance. He told me not to commit before he gets a chance to talk to me. I laughed and told him I would make sure to put myself in the right situation.”

A few other late options could make things interesting for Cumberlander, as Gunter Brewer from North Carolina and new Oregon wide receivers’ coach Matt Lubick have been in contact this week as well.