Over the past few years, college football recruiting has become a sport of it’s own. With 24-7 coverage all year long, fans now have something to cheer, brag, or sulk about even when the fields are brown and unpainted. In a sense, this off-the-field competition had become just as fierce as a regular game day for those fans who have no offseason.
As the coverage gets better and better (or worse and worse), the number of those types of fans grows. For most of them, it’s actually more of a competition of just getting the guy that the other team wanted as well. Who cares if he’ll actually contribute quickly or pan out in the long run? Let’s just hope he signs with us so we can point and laugh at the other team.
Auburn fans saw a lot of that yesterday as 5-star running back, T.J. Yeldon, de-committed from Auburn and committed to Alabama. As the message boards and Twitter blew up, I remained mostly silent on the whole thing. Was I bothered? Sure. Did I lose sleep over it? None.
I was actually more bothered by some of the reactions from the Auburn fans that didn’t take the news too well. I saw some pretty ridiculous and crude tweets sent straight to Yeldon, as well as a few others that were just downright whiny. I’m sure the immediate and incessant bragging from Alabama fans was the cause, but we all need to remember a few things…
1. T.J. Yeldon is 17-18 years old. Why an adult would wish that a teenager gets hurt because of his college choice is beyond me. It’s sad, and if you did it, you need to grow up. There are only a few things that make me say “It’s just football” and this is one of those. He’s still a kid, and has no idea what he’s getting into. Don’t blame him. Blame the pressure he’s been given over the last few weeks by the grown men that could not stand that he was committed to Auburn.
2. T.J. Yeldon is 17-18 years old. I don’t know about you, but when I was his age, I changed my mind on pretty much everything, all the time. I’m not saying there’s a chance he could switch back to Auburn, but anyone who has ever been 17-18, should know that it’s a definite possibility. I know fans of another school that read this blog will say I’m wishfully thinking, but I’m not. As far as I’m concerned, he’ll play for Alabama next year.
3. He’s flipped once, what says he won’t again? Again, I don’t expect this to happen, but through this whole thing, one thing has been proven: Yeldon, like most teenagers, is a flip-flopper. Brent Calloway started with Alabama, switched to Auburn, and then was paid to go to Alabama, or something like that, so it’s been done before. And it will happen again, possibly with Yeldon, or any other confused and pressured teenager.
4. If he did flip again, how dumb would you look? When I saw the people jumping all over Yeldon for switching to Alabama, I was reminded of something funny I saw on the television set last year. At an Alabama basketball game, the day after Brent Calloway switched to Auburn from Alabama, there was a student holding up a sign that said something about Calloway being Benedict Arnold. Now that student is forced to cheer for the guy and know that he likened him to the nation’s most well-known betrayer. What if Yeldon switched back? Do you think he’d have the right to cheer for him as an Auburn Tiger?
5. Do you see who Auburn already has in the backfield? Michael Dyer (maybe), Onterrio McCalebb, Tre Mason, Mike Blakely, Corey Grant, and Jovon Robinson (incoming 4-star). I’m not going to act like Yeldon wouldn’t have added or even topped this list in a year or so, but Auburn’s running back corps is pretty strong as it is. If Dyer, for whatever reason, does not return, that will obviously make the loss of Yeldon sting a little worse, but then again, O-Mac, Tre La Soul, B-lake (I just made that up), O-town Killa, and Rob-dawg (made that one up too) are a fine bunch. I wouldn’t be too worried about not having anything with Yeldon not being back there. We’re good.
As I said, to most, the main reason this stings is that it’s almost like a loss to Alabama. If Yeldon had gone to Tennessee or Florida, nobody would have cared that much. It’s just another reason for Alabama fans to gloat to Auburn fans for the next few days. Regardless of the trash talk Auburn fans will hear, some of things that were said to the kid were downright ridiculous and uncalled for. Don’t let the uneducated masses force you to act uneducated as well.
And all God’s people said…..Amen!
This article is very true, not to mention it is very well written. You are absolutely right, the kid is 17 years old and he reserves the right to change his mind. I wish him much success! War D*** Eagle ….
It just seems to me that we have a lot of talented running backs no Auburn fans should get mad about him switching to Alabama it could have had something to do with Gus leaving but these guys are young and like u said he could switch back or to another school but no grown up should be begging or bashing these teenagers just down right creepy
I agree. Some folks need to be reminded what makes a bammer and be sure not to replicate that type of behavior. We are better than that.
I guess he could change back, but two things make that unlikely. First is the reaction of some AU fans to this. The second is that he intends to enroll in january and we are in a recruiting dead period now.
Couldn’t have said it better myself!
As I said when this happened…our back field is pretty crowded right now. Especially if DYER and OMAC are back next year. The “Tahd” has Lacey next year – and that’s pretty much it. This kid wants to have a Marcus Lattimore-esque freshman year…and more power to him – probably wouldn’t happen at AU with our depth chart. I just hope his success against Auburn MIRROR Lattimore’s.
I’m just hoping we keep raking in those 4 and 5 star O-lineman (and a few 3 star’s with 5 star heart and work ethic) – It won’t matter if we had Bo Jackson and Stephen Davis in the back field if we can’t make holes for them.
Lacey, Brent Calloway, and a li’l speedster named Mike Hart from Dr.Phillips High in Orlando (that hazed a freshman & had to forfeit its 14 wins in ’10).
Yeldon will likely be redshirted as Hart was this season.
Well stated, WB! I certainly hate to see Auburn lose the big-time committment but we all know that until there’s ink-on-paper, there’s always the chance these kids will flip. TJ Yeldon isn’t going to make or break this recruiting class for RB’s. I’d rather see us go after some strong O-lineman so these highly touted RB’s we DO have can run with impunity.
Amen, Brother! Preaching it!!!!!
Totally agree with you… You are very Wise War Blogle
It’s the middle aged men on AuburnSports.com’s forums that don’t have anything better to do than rag on young kids and act like they know everything about recruiting. It’s stupid. Thank you for this article.
What gets most of us auburn fans upset is the cowardness of how he did it. He waits til the dead period where he can’t be contacted by auburn. That I’m sure wad influenced by the Bama coaching staff. Im sure Bama put their money where their mouth is the last couple weeks in sweying his decision. That’s obvious because he was solidely committed to auburn on Dec 7th and those words came out of his mouth, not mine.
I would never communicate directly to any 17 or 18 year old recruit for any school and hope that our fans would not engage in that. That being said I know a lot of 12 year olds much less 17 or 18 year olds that know how to keep a committiment. Although I would never say anything directly about Yeldon, I would still question Alabamas methods and would be on the look out for something illegal or unethical.
Well said. He’s a kid making a life altering decision. It’s his life. I was not happy seeing the mean spirited comments about Yeldon, but truthfully, I only saw a couple of them on Twitter and they paled in comparison in substance and quantity to those said about Calloway last year but still deplorable nonetheless. I hope he stays healthy and I wish him the best of luck, in the classroom that is. It would be unconstitutional for me to wish him luck on the football field but I do hope he stays healthy.
I believe he based his decision solely on football and did not consider the actual school. We want guys at Auburn that love Auburn and want to play for Auburn. If that is not in his heart then he would never be the type player we need. I believe this is what Mike Dyer is struggling with now. This is also what being ALL IN means!! This is what made the 2010 team what it was….they played for Auburn….not themselves.
I don’t wish him to succeed in anything. Sorry.
Nobody said anything wishing him to succeed. If he does end up at Alabama, I hope he rushes for -2827 yards. I just hope he does so on two healthy legs.
Thanks for such a great article. Some people really lose sight of the fact that these boys are so young and under so much pressure. I tell prospective students all the time that although I would love for high school senior in the nation to come to Auburn I know that it’s not for everyone. It’s about choosing a school that you will care about as much in 30 years as you do now. It’s about finding a place that you will stand behind no matter what. For me that was Auburn, for T.J. Yeldon that may be Alabama. Although I may disagree with his decision, I have to respect it. We want our boys to choose Auburn because they want to become a part of something so much bigger than themselves. We want them to choose Auburn because they want to become a part of the family. I think that the group that we have coming in January and May truly want that and I am so excited to see them join the family.
Well all I know is, my stepbrother is a sophomore at Daphne High right now and they play together….(and according to my stepmom) supposedly he is a great kid who doesn’t gloat and has a great head on his shoulders. However in the same conversation she informed me that the other bammer commit from Daphne, (3 star DE) Ryan Anderson, is a thug and hot headed….. can’t wait to see how that pans out. But then again, she is a Bammer…… so I take everything they say with a grain of salt because we all know how bad their math and general lack of college education is.
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Yeldon sucks and I despise him, much like I do this flaming site
Yeldon flipped cause it is obvious he was given money just like Cyrus Kouidanjio. In fact Kouidanjio’s high school DeMathia High was given a 500K anonymous donation to build new athleti facilities, right after he flipped. Alabama is the biggest cheat, Menswear, book scandal, 1/2 game suspensions, axed scholarships after Napoleon Dynamite figures he can get a better player in an incoming class, all point to winning is above the value of the recruit. Saban thinks of recruits as animals to win through hard labor to be axed the moment they can’t play from injury. That people is who we deal with every year, kind of like dealing with a redneck Taliban, ie Updyke.
Therefore, to deal with them we must be equally ruthless. Show Saban for what he is and the redneck sleeper cells for what they are, idiot sidewalk fans who never set foot in a college classroom and probably only LD high school classes.
Well said friend. Hate it for the kid, what with committing to Hitlers cousin and all, but he is a KID…having 4 knee surgeries myself, I don’t with that juju on ANYONE, not even my worst enemy.
[…] my feelings on Yeldon's decision and how it affects me in my critically-acclaimed piece entitled "Watch Your Mouth When it Comes to Bashing Recruits," but I do feel the need to elaborate. If he doesn't want to go to Auburn, then I don't want him […]
Come on guys, Bama will be a great match for him. He can not win the Heisman just like Richardson did not win the Heisman. He can not win the Rhodes Scholarship just like whatshisname did not win the Rhodes Scholarship. Upon graduation, he can make $8/hr as a bank teller just like Prothro makes $8 an hour as a bank teller.
When you look at it that way, why wouldn’t you go to bama?