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December 18, 2011Daphne five-star running back T.J. Yeldon gave University of Alabama football fans reason to flip out Sunday when the 6-foot-2, 205-pound running back switched his commitment from in-state rival Auburn to Alabama.
Rumors began circulating weeks ago that Yeldon was welcoming Alabama advances, but the talented running back seemed to quell most of that talk last week at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic when he told reporters that he "solid to Auburn."
However, the rumors never fully dissipated and picked up full steam this weekend, culminating in Sunday's decision.
Yeldon released the following statement.
"Over the last few weeks, I've really put a lot of time and thought into where I want to go to school and continue my football career. I am blessed to be in a situation where I have several great opportunities and I appreciate everyone involved who has helped me get to this point.
"I want to make an announcement so I can put this behind me and get to work on the things I need to do to prepare for college both athletically and academically. I am going to enroll at the University of Alabama in January.
"I have a lot of respect for Auburn, the coaches, and all of the people there, but at the end of the day I feel like the University of Alabama is the best situation and fit for me and my family. I am 100 percent confident with my final decision. I feel great about it and I'm excited to get started."
Yeldon's change to the Crimson Tide moved UA's 2012 class to the No. 2 spot in Rivals.com's team rankings jumping Michigan and now only behind Texas. Yeldon is the nation's No. 3-ranked running back, second-ranked player in the state and the No. 24 player in the country.
Yeldon originally committed to Auburn in June, but ultimately chose to join his Daphne teammate Ryan Anderson and attend Alabama. Yeldon rushed for 2,193 yards and 31 touchdowns in Class 6A football this season.
He is scheduled to graduate early and enroll at Alabama for the spring semester.
Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell put into perspective what Yeldon flipping to Alabama from Auburn means.
"This type of flip is Richter scale stuff when it comes to recruiting," Farrell said. "Not only do you have a five-star talent and the No. 3 running back and a top 25 player overall in the nation changing schools, but this is Alabama-Auburn. It doesn't get any bigger than that. We saw it last year when Brent Calloway flipped from Alabama to Auburn back to Alabama and when Cyrus Kouandjio chose Auburn on Signing Day and flipped to Alabama later, but this is bigger in my opinion. Those were a bit more dramatic because they came so close to the end, but we're talking about a franchise-caliber running back that could be the difference between winning a national championship or not. One linebacker or one offensive tackle cannot make the difference one great running back can. We've seen the impact of guys like Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson at Alabama and in that offense and Yeldon could be the next one.
"This isn't simple overstatement, this is reality, this kid is a difference maker and a crushing blow to Auburn is a boon to the Tide. The ground has to be shaking in the state of Alabama right now. Richter scale stuff like I said."
Reach Aaron Suttles at Aaron@TideSports.com or at 205-722-0229. Follow him on Twitter here