Five-star linebacker Rashaan Evans committed to Alabama
on Signing Day. (Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI)
Auburn's national championship appearance and improbable turnaround under Gus Malzahn has already paid recruiting dividends, with the Tigers holding a strong class entering National Signing Day. However, as of Wednesday morning, one of the program's top targets remained on the board: Five-star outside linebacker Rashaan Evans, from nearby Auburn (Ala.) High.
Signing Day is full of weird quirks, but the following may take the cake: Before Evans announced his decision, his profile appeared on Auburn's official site, listing him under the position of "Star." There was a YouTube video under the Auburn Tigers Athletics account. It's possible that the school simply jumped the gun -- a possibility that CBS' Jerry Hinnen pointed out -- but things became really strange when Evans, stunningly, declared for Alabama.
Evans was down to Auburn, UCLA and Alabama, but the late push by Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide coaching staff snatched the linebacker out of the Tigers' backyard. It's fitting, perhaps, that Evans played with Reuben Foster, last year's five-star linebacker who flipped from Auburn to Alabama after tattooing the Tigers' logo on his arm.
Not long after Evans' announcement, his profile was taken down:
As many have mentioned, schools create bio pages for most of their prospects. Otherwise, how would they prepare for the flood of faxes coming in? Still, to have that up there and to watch Evans put on an Alabama hat ... oof.
Auburn assistant athletic director of media relations Kirk Sampson provided an official statement on Twitter:
As for Evans, he apparently made the decision last night, but brought a Tigers hat just in case:
The page wasn't hidden very well -- it was out there, and all the hyperlinks were live. There was even the video, which continued to remain online an hour after the announcement. (SB Nation had some fun with it.) It's possible the web team (which is often a third-party vendor) put the profiles together and pushed them live to save time.
Malzahn and company were still able to pry offensive lineman Braden Smith away from Texas A&M and TCU. Smith can bench press a lot of pounds, and he is also an avid gardener. Most importantly, he is the No. 3 guard prospect in the class 2014.
The Smith news was met with lots of fist-pumping and high-fives, even if it ultimately won't take away the sting of the Evans announcement that happened just minutes later.