When Auburn (Ala.) five-star linebacker Reuben Foster switched his commitment from Alabama to Auburn earlier this summer, many were surprised. One person that was not surprised was Muscle Shoals (Ala.) five-star defensive lineman Dee Liner.
Liner has been committed to the Tigers for over a year and in the past six months or so, has ramped up his recruiting efforts. Liner played an important role recruiting Foster, and if Liner has his way, Foster will just be the start of a monster finish for Auburn's 2013 class.
"There's a couple out there," Liner said on Eyes on Auburn on Tuesday night. "I think O.J. Howard will come and join us. I think Bo (Scarbrough) will joins us. I think most definitely Tray Matthews will come and join us. Since I've been talking to Reuben and I got him on board, I've been going to work."
Bo Scarbrough is a 2014 prospect and arguably the top junior in the state of Alabama. Howard is of course committed to Alabama, and Matthews to Georgia.
Liner feels it's his role to be a lead recruiter considering he holds the honor of being the first pledge in the class, committing in June of 2011.
"Since I was the first one to commit, I feel like I'm just going to my second home when I visit," he said. "I've been an Auburn fan my whole life and when I started getting recruited by them they showed me the most love. The thing they call, 'All In', it's just like a family."
On the field, the nation's No. 3 stongside defensive end started his spring at 270-pounds before competing in the VTO Sports/Rivals camp in Birmingham, Ala. Liner won defensive line MVP during that camp and carried the momentum into Atlanta, Ga. for the Rivals 100 Five-Star Challenge. Liner, along with fellow Auburn commit Carl Lawson, dominated and earned praise from analysts across the board.
"That camp went good and we showed them our skills and we showed them what Auburn was going to be about in the coming years," Liner said. "But being a five-star, it's a burden, I feel like since I'm a five-star some people are trying to take my spot so I have to keep getting better."
Now, as Liner enters his senior season, he has grown to 6-foot-4, 294-pounds and is prepared to be an imposing force this fall.
"The thing is, I haven't lost a step or any of my speed," Liner said. "My first step is still coming along, but I like where I'm at. I still have my speed though. My biggest strength on the field is my pass rush moves, when I club and rip."
But before he arrives on the Plains, Liner will keep a close eye on the current Tigers' defense under new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. A new attacking-style of defense is being welcomed by the Auburn defenders during fall camp and Liner is intrigued to watch their development.
Despite Liner being committed to Auburn for over a year and making it abundantly clear that he is recruiting for the Auburn Tigers, that hasn't stopped rival schools from continuing their recruitment of Liner. He told AuburnSports.com last week that he would likely officially visit Alabama, Tennessee and USC in addition to Auburn. So is there any threat to steal him away from the Tigers?
"Alabama is staying on me hard," Liner said. "The commitment to Auburn is firm. I haven't visited anywhere all summer, not one visit. I'm just trying to get away from home and take a little vacation. Auburn, they have nothing to worry about. I'm 100 percent, all in."