T.J. Yeldon's Auburn Decommitment: Had This Been a Calculated Plan?

Michael AbbottContributor IIIDecember 19, 2011

On Sunday, Auburn University's 5-star running back commit T.J. Yeldon decommitted from the Tigers and decided to take his talents to Tuscaloosa. Some people see this as a surprise. Why?

Yeldon, off and on all season, had made trips to Bryant Denny to "hang out with my friends" and "taking all of his officials," as he put it. Well, since he had committed to Auburn, shouldn't he have been there "hanging out with friends" and getting to know his future teammates?

It was a shock that he decommitted from Auburn and committed to 'Bama only if you weren't paying attention.

This has been in the works for some time.

Yeldon has the right to change his mind, I'm not saying that. Gene Chizik encourages his commits to go on visits and make sure Auburn is where they want to be.

Yeldon made the following statement on Sunday:

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really put a lot of time  and thought into where I want to go to school and continue my football career. I have a lot of respect for Auburn, the coaches, and all of the people there, but at the end of the day I feel like the University of Alabama is the best situation and fit for me and my family.

I am 100 percent confident with my final decision. I feel  great about it and I’m excited to get started.

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Aubbie, mascot of the Auburn Tigers, cheers against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

He has every right to change his mind and make this decision. But what I have a problem with is that all this time he had been saying he was solid to Auburn. It's pretty obvious to me that this plan had been in the works for some time.

I don't believe Gus Malzahn's leaving had too much to do with it. Yeldon had been making these trips well before Malzahn left for Arkansas State. To be honest, if Malzahn was the reason he was going to Auburn, both he and Auburn are better off now.

After several visits to Tuscaloosa and an in-home visit by Coach Saban—with a decommit the day before the so-called "dead period"—it is plain to see this was calculated.

Coach Chizik can't even give a last-minute pitch until Jan. 4, 2012. He can't find out why, what changed, or if Yeldon ever intended to attend Auburn.

Yeldon plans to enroll at Tuscaloosa on Jan. 9th.

And best for his family?

He's the one going to have to attend class. He's the one who is going to be living on campus for the next four years. He's the one who is going to have to put a lot of sweat and tears into playing football.

He should take advice from his family and coaches, but at the end of the day, Yeldon is the one who will be doing the time.

It was his decision to make, and I hope he does well and is at peace with his choice. Auburn has had great running backs before. They will have great running backs after Yeldon's career is done.

Next year will be another chance to get that 5-star running back. This isn't a make or break for Auburn. Auburn is "running back university" for a reason and will be for years to come.