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June 15, 2010One of the top defensive lineman in the country has made his decision, as Mobile (Ala.) Davidson lineman JaBrian Niles has committed to the Auburn Tigers.
The 6-foot-2, 270-pound prospect from south Alabama has maintained a top two of Auburn and Florida State until recently.
Niles decided after a trip to Auburn's Senior Mini Camp on Sunday, that he was ready to pull the trigger and commit to Gene Chizik's program at Auburn.
Niles, who has been an Auburn fan all his life, knew it was the place for him, saying, "if you want to play against the best, you have to come to Auburn."
Niles boasts offers from programs all over the southeast, including Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Ole Miss, and more.
In the end, a big influence on Niles decision was Auburn defensive line coach Tracy Rocker.
"I believe coach 'Rock' is one of the best defensive line coaches ever," Niles said.
Davidson head coach Fred Riley says Niles has always wanted to go to Auburn, and it was an uphill battle for anyone else that coveted the talented lineman.
"He's been an Auburn fan all his life," Riley said. "He went to Florida State this spring for a visit and was wearing his Auburn name tag around his neck about to walk into their complex. I think he's wanted to go to Auburn for a long time."
Riley says although Niles is a great player, Auburn is getting a great person first and foremost.
"They are getting a very, very good person," Riley said. "He's been a solid young man in our program, he makes quality decisions off the field and in the classroom. He's a leader within our community, and his upside as far as that is very positive."
As a player, Niles athleticism is what stands out most to Riley and the college programs that offered him.
"As a player, he came into the program as a cornerback, and just grew into a defensive lineman, but still with the skill level," Riley said. "He plays basketball and handles the ball on the team, and has the same skill set as a skill player, but is 262-pounds.
"He has a knack for knocking down passes. I think he was first noticed when we played Hoover in a spring game last year, and he knocked down four passes. Once people got to meet him, they realized what a fine young man he is."
Although Niles plays end in high school, he projects inside for Auburn along the defensive line. A position that Riley thinks will fit Niles well in the future.
"I think you could certainly look at him and see a kid that will be 6-foot-3, 290-pounds in college and be a force down inside," said Riley. "He's used to playing inside so that won't be an issue at all."
Riley projects to be a qualifier according to Riley, and the coach notes the curriculum at Davidson will prepare Niles well for Auburn.