Reuben Foster, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 football recruit, has been cleared to play for Auburn High School this season and his transfer from Troup High in LaGrange was within the rules of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), Auburn City Schools said in news release on Thursday.
“We are lovely, yes we are,” his mother, Anita Paige, told the AJC exclusively on Thursday. “I wasn’t worried about Reuben being able to play because I know we didn’t do anything wrong.”
Earlier in the week, there was confusion as to whether the 5-star linebacker and his mother were interviewing with officials from the AHSAA or NCAA. After the AJC received a tip from a source that requested anonymity on Monday morning, the AJC asked Paige specifically if she and her son were meeting with the NCAA later in the day Monday. She responded, “Yes, how did you know?”
Paige was also asked specifically about what the NCAA wanted to discuss. There then were reports in Alabama later in the day that the meeting was only with AHSAA officials.
On Monday night, Paige again spoke exclusively with the AJC and was asked to clarify whether the meeting was with the AHSAA or NCAA, and said, “I can’t say. I’m not allowed to comment on that.”
On Thursday, Paige set the record straight: “I thought you were asking me if was I meeting with the Alabama high schools that day. Maybe I did misunderstand what you were saying. Maybe I did.”
She also said it was her own choice – and under nobody else’s orders – to not clarify who she met with on Monday.
“I didn’t want my name slammed around again like it was slammed on Monday about a misunderstanding,” Paige said. “Because of what you said and what I thought I said, that’s why I didn’t want to talk anymore on Monday. That’s all.”
Paige said Monday’s meeting lasted 20-30 minutes, and only included high school officials. She said her son’s stunning decision last month to switch his commitment to Auburn after being committed to Alabama for 12 months was not discussed.
Because Foster is such a high-profile recruit, his changing of high schools and college commitment has come under scrutiny by both the media and fans on message boards. He moved with his family to Auburn, Ala., in mid-April.
In her Monday interview, Paige had other interesting things to say about the transfer and decommitment that got overshadowed by the meeting report:
This is what was previously reported ..
UPDATE (2:17 p.m Thursday): Auburn City Schools issued a brief news release Thursday afternoon that said Reuben Foster has been cleared to play for Auburn High School this season and that his transfer from Troup High in Lagrange, Ga., was within Alabama High School Athletic Association rules. Check back for updates
Reuben Foster’s change of high schools and college commitment led to a meeting with investigators on Monday afternoon, his mother, Anita Paige, told the AJC. While at first, she said that it was NCAA representatives holding the meeting, there were multiple reports in Alabama that the interview was held instead by the state of Alabama high school association.
Given a chance to clarify Monday night, she said she could not comment and it’s unclear what the next step is and whether she misspoke when she first identified the meeting as being with the NCAA.
Foster, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 overall college football prospect, transferred from Troup High School to Alabama’s Auburn High School 40 miles away in mid-April.
Last month, the 5-star linebacker who is entering his senior season also announced his new college destination would be Auburn after being committed to rival Alabama for 12 months.
When contacted around 1 p.m. Monday, Paige was asked directly if she was meeting later in the day with the NCAA and she replied, “Yes, how did you know?” The reports later in the afternoon, including by AuburnUndercover.com’s Bryan Matthews, were that the early evening meeting would be with Alabama high school officials.
When reached at 9 p.m. Monday and asked to clarify whether the meeting was held with the NCAA or Alabama high school officials, Paige responded, “I can’t say. I’m not allowed to comment on that.”
Earlier in the day, Paige told the AJC, “They are talking with Reuben and me. They want to make sure there was nothing illegal done to get us down here, or anything like that. They want to make sure there wasn’t a college booster involved.
“No, there was not a booster involved or anybody from the college involved. There was nothing illegal.”
Foster has said the reason he left Troup was because his coach, Charles Flowers, was fired after last season. His mother reiterated that on Monday, while also adding, “I picked Auburn High School for us because it’s a better school system for academics. Reuben only has one more year of high school, but it was my baby girl [Kayla, 12 years old] who I was more worried about. I want them to get a good education.”
Since Foster flipped from Alabama to Auburn on July 12, there has been a ton of backlash, according to Paige. “Yes, the Alabama people have said all kinds of awful things, saying he is a traitor, and that ‘You can go play with the pigs if you want.’ They told him you won’t be playing for any championships at Auburn the next four years … just a lot of mean stuff.”
Why did Foster switch to Auburn? When Foster went public with the decision, he only read a short statement and did not take any questions from reporters. Paige provided some insight:
“Reuben said I won’t have to travel so far for his games since we live in Auburn now. Plus it had to do with those shootings at Auburn. Ladarious Phillips was his cousin who played football at Auburn and was one of those who got killed. That played a big role in Reuben’s decision. He wants to carry on Ladarious’ legacy at Auburn.”
One day after flipping to Auburn, Foster cemented the decision by getting a gigantic Auburn tattoo on his forearm. His mother said the commitment remains so strong that the entire family intends to get Auburn tattoos, also.
RELATED: Two of Auburn’s current freshmen recruits are also dealing with the NCAA, including one player facing allegations that his high school transcript was falsified (click here for more)
THIS JUST IN …
BECAUSE WE MISS THE OLYMPICS
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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