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December 5, 2011
After UA visit, 5-star 'still firm' with AU
The nation's No. 3 running back and No. 24 overall prospect T.J. Yeldon committed to Auburn in June, and has remained a firm commitment to the Tigers since.
Last Monday, however, Alabama coach Nick Saban visited Yeldon and his family in their home. Yeldon followed that up with an official visit to Alabama over the weekend.
After the visit to the Tigers' arch-rival, Yeldon maintains his pledge to Auburn remains unchanged.
"I'm still firm with Auburn," Yeldon said Monday evening.
When asked to elaborate on his commitment to the Tigers, Yeldon reiterated, "I'm still strong with Auburn. I'm still going there. I still plan to enroll early there."
The visit to Alabama, Yeldon said, was one that he had already planned.
With Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic practice beginning on Tuesday, and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl approaching in January, it was perhaps Yeldon's last opportunity to get away.
"It went good. I had fun with a lot of other recruits that were down there on there officials and we had a good time and just talked," Yeldon said.
The Auburn pledge spent time with a number of Alabama commitments, including teammate Ryan Anderson.
Yeldon learned more about the Alabama offense, but said after numerous trips to Tuscaloosa over the spring and summer, his official visit didn't reveal anything new.
"They are pretty much both the same running offenses," Yeldon said. "They are both still running downhill, running sweeps. They are the same in those ways.
"I've been there and seen everything. I was down there a lot over the summer. (This weekend), I just hung out with some players and ate a lot."
Yeldon said he was "most likely" done with visits.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Yeldon said when he initially committed to Auburn, the coaching staff encouraged him to enjoy the process and take visits. For Yeldon, that's what the visit to Tuscaloosa was all about.
"Auburn said I could take all my officials so I just took it and just went down there to have fun," Yeldon said.
One of those coaches, Auburn running backs coach Curtis Luper, visited with Yeldon Monday morning and spent a few minutes with the five-star back.
"We just talked and chatted. He's been on me since I was a sophomore," said Yeldon. "We just talked and hung out."
A year removed from a national championship, Auburn finished the 2011 season 7-5, and will play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Virginia on New Year's Eve at the Georgia Dome. The Tigers lost more than 20 of their top contributors from the 2010 team and replaced the majority with underclassmen.
Yeldon said he had a firm grasp of where the Auburn program stood prior to the season, making the final results somewhat inconsequential in regards to his recruitment. In fact, that youth and opportunity for playing time is a big reason he chose Auburn in the first place.
"I knew they were going to be down this year because of all the freshmen and sophomores that were going to play," Yeldon said. "I feel like I could make an impact next year."