Reuben Foster, a senior linebacker at Auburn (Ala.) High, is one of the top two football recruits in the country. When he recently shifted his verbal commitment from Alabama to archrival Auburn, it was considered as much a fair accompli as it was a shocking coup for the Tigers, a move that seemed in the works ever since Foster left his LaGrange (Ga.) Troup High home for Auburn in the first place.
Now the NCAA seems to have developed a similar level of skepticism, leading to a formal interview with Foster and his mother, Anita Paige. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which first confirmed the NCAA meeting, the collegiate sports body is concerned about the possible involvement of a booster in Foster's collegiate switch.
Meanwhile, Paige is so adamant that nothing improper begat her son's change of heart that she has said the entire family -- primarily herself and Foster's younger sister, with other extended relatives possible -- are planning to get Auburn tattoos to match the wild ink Foster had put on his own arm after his commitment to the Tigers.
For her part, Paige said there was much more to Foster's decision to change his future destination than simple cultural and competitive matters. Strikingly, the shocking loss of a cousin who played at Auburn may have helped push the senior toward the Tigers.
"Reuben said I won't have to travel so far for his games since we live in Auburn now," Paige told the Journal-Constitution. "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."
Whether or not Foster gets to carry out that legacy may be affected by what the NCAA learns on Monday. If there is significant concern that anything improper occurred to get Foster to switch to Auburn, he may soon find himself sporting one of the most inappropriately presumptive tattoos in America.