is that a 6-6, 340-pound offensive lineman, one carrying an Alabama offer and universally considered one of top in-state prospects for the class of 2011, has committed to Auburn.
That’s what matters. Everything else is noise.
Granted, and not surprisingly, there’s been a lot of noise. That happens when you’re talking about a recruit described by everyone with a keyboard as a lifelong Alabama fan, who’d already told reporters “I’m going to Alabama”, who apparently had his change of heart en route to his announcement. Explanations for Region’s 180 have since come fast and furious: that he wanted to commit to ‘Bama and the Tide simply weren’t ready to take him yet, that his statement regarding Auburn’s family values and (dis)comfort level with Alabama should be taken at face value, that Region wanted to take other visits after committing and was told nothing doing by Saban.
Whatever’s the truth–and it’s probably out there in the muddy gray middle between Saban and Co. balking and Chizik and Co. going full-speed-ahead–it doesn’t change the fact that Region is the sort of recruit that two years ago would have been off to Tuscaloosa without so much as a stray glance in Auburn’s direction. A lifetime of ‘Bama fandom and an offer (however serious or not) from the Tide? Region would have been the Tide lock we all believed him to be last week.
But things have changed. They haven’t changed so much that Auburn can claim they’re suddenly winning the recruiting war, I wouldn’t say; there were more players Auburn wanted in the Tide’s class from last Wednesday than there were players the Tide wanted in Auburn’s. They haven’t even changed yet to the point where Auburn’s really making a dent in the great crimson recruiting engine; Saban may come to regret not sealing the deal with Region, but the odds remain good he’ll find a player somewhere he prizes just as highly.
But not long ago, no player he prized at all would ever have become an Auburn commit. Things now are different. Some of it is probably Alabama becoming more picky. A lot of it is definitely Chizik and Co. selling the holy hell out of the program. Regardless: it’s nothing but good for Auburn.
That’s the bottom line. Spencer Region is an Auburn commit. However it happened, Auburn wins.
Three more quick things:
— There’s a looooooooong way to go before Signing Day 2011, and if I’m not mistaken (can’t find the link, sorry) Region’s already said he’d take his visits. So Chizik and Co. still have a lot of work to do, probably. But Region’s commit is still a big, big deal even without all the AU-UA hullaballoo, because
1. all signs point to Region being very, very good; offers from both in-state programs and another several major programs besides at this early stage are awfully positive indicators
2. it’s worth noting that in his year-plus on the trail Chizik hasn’t lost one commitment to his staff, save in-again-out-again D.J. Howard; even if Region’s not yet a Tiger, Auburn has to be the clear, obvious favorite.
Yeah, good times.
— Did you see this? Because you should have:
— While we’re on the topic of the coachbot and recruiting, I can’t help but ask you to compare and contrast the following quotes or quote-like substance. Saban, February 2010:
Saban suggested that other schools used Alabama’s national title and newfound depth and talent against it during recruiting.
“A lot of these players make decisions based on where they can play next year,” Saban said. “The fact of the matter is not a whole lot of players actually play when they’re freshmen. … I’m amazed at what other schools know about our team, because I know nothing about their team, and they know more about our team than I know.
“I mean, they get the depth chart out and they know how good players are, guys that haven’t even played before.”
Tommy Tuberville, February 2008:
*On Alabama getting most of the top in-state kids, Tuberville said (without referencing Alabama directly) that many schools have more immediate holes that need to be filled and players are drawn by the allure of early playing time.
Region photo via.