A week ago, Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) made one of the toughest decisions any prospect has to make when he decommitted from Auburn after it was announced that assistant coach Trooper Taylor and the entire Tigers staff would not be retained.
After that, Alabama, the first team to gain Foster’s commitment, was back after the No. 24 prospect.
“Kirby Smart talked to me about how I felt when I first committed to [Alabama] and how I needed to get back on that train so I can be a great linebacker at Alabama,” Foster said. “Coach Smart said that I hurt them when I decommitted and they never wanted me to rush into anything. They would have rather me take my time. I am serious about Alabama. Not too serious, but I want to get back on that road.”
Foster admitted that he had a good relationship with the people in Tuscaloosa.
“I like the coaching staff there,” Foster said. “Coach Smart is a cool character. I like the players. Trey DePriest and Lamichael Fanning. They are like my best friends.”
On Monday, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn took the opportunity to meet with the No. 1 insider linebacker in the country.
“Coach Gus said he was not going to pressure me to jump back on board,” Foster said. “He said he wants me to wait and see if I like it and if I don’t he will respect me. He wants me though and he said he would love to have me and he plans to try his best to bond with me and give me the same love that I had with the Auburn coaches that left.”
Foster has been practicing for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game in Montgomery, Ala., where many other Auburn commitments are also participating. Their presence has helped Foster push aside the stress that came with his decommitment.
“Dee Liner, Cameron Luper, Earnest Robinson, Jeremy Johnson have really supported me since I decommitted,” Foster said. “They want me to come back, but they are not putting any pressure on me and they have told me to follow my heart.”
The University of Georgia is also in hot pursuit of Foster. The day he decommitted, assistant coaches John Lilly and Kirk Olivadotti were at his high school. On Monday, Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was there to see him as well. Their message to Foster was clear.
“They told me to come to the state that I was raised,” Foster said. “They said I belong in Georgia and that I have Georgia blood in me so I should be a Georgia Bulldog. They said there is nothing any other coach can sell me on that is better than that.”
Coaches from Georgia Tech and Washington have also visited.
Foster has an official visit to Washington set for Jan. 11. Foster says his other official visits will go to Georgia, LSU, Miami and likely South Carolina, but there is no specific timeline for a commitment.
“I do not know when I will make my final decision, but it will be based on how my family loves it, how they care for it, and how they like the atmosphere,” Foster said. “Also how my little girl likes it.”
Foster’s daughter, A'Ziya Blackmon, could emerge as a major factor in his final decision.
“The school I pick has to have a good daycare program and good babysitters in case she wants to spend the night with me and I have football,” Foster said. “The coaches have to have a good bond with her too. My little girl has to like them and she knows who she likes. She likes Auburn --- and she likes Alabama. Those are the only two schools she likes, but she has not seen Georgia yet but I plan to take her there to see them, too.”