Daphne RB sensation made lots of waves last month when he abruptly switched his commitment from Auburn to Alabama. The reaction of the jilted fanbase was swift and predictable.
Yeldon and many other top-flight recruits are converging on San Antonio this week to begin preparations for Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a showcase of the country’s top high school recruits.
Recruiting is an intensely competitive process and top prospects are often pushed into committing early, which frequently leads to 17- and 18-year olds changing their minds after they’ve fully reviewed their options and weighed the opportunities.
It happens a lot more than people realize, but the timing of Yeldon’s change of heart led wacky conspiracy theorists to conclude that the Alabama staff, Yeldon’s family and his high school coach were all in cahoots on an effort to screw Auburn.
Rivals.com’s Dallas Jackson caught up with Yeldon and the future Tide tailback talked about the decision to switch his commitment.
"It was a tough decision," he said. "I have nothing negative against Auburn; this was a decision that I had to make for me.
"Alabama can get me to the next level, and I had to make that choice for myself."
"(Two) years ago they had a guy (Mark Ingram) win the Heisman," he said. "And this year they could have done it again (with Trent Richardson). I just feel like I can accomplish all my goals there."
While each said they feel comfortable with their schools of choice, the rabid fanbases made sure to voice displeasure over the de-commitments.
"They blew up my Facebook," Yeldon said. "And my Twitter was crazy.
"People were posting that they hoped I would blow out both my ACL's and other stuff like that."
The overboard emotions displayed by Auburn fans over the de-commitment surprised Yeldon but did not effect him.
"I didn't think it would be like that," he said. "I don't let it bother me because it isn't those people's futures, it's mine, and I have to make the best choice for me."
Shocked? Don’t be. Surprised? Shouldn’t be. This is precisely the reaction Brent Calloway was subjected to last February, when he too switched his commitment from Auburn to Alabama.
When Yeldon made his decision last month, he took the unusual step of releasing a carefully worded statement that should have put an end to the conspiracy theorists’ nonsense. Here is his two paragraph statement, wishing Auburn well and explaining that he’d carefully weighed all of his options and made the decision based what he thought was the right path for him:
“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.”
There is nothing here to suggest that Yeldon has been dishonest or has been part of a grand scheme to give one school the shaft and the other the benefit of his talents. This is just a very talented young man with many opportunities, who carefully considered all of his options and made a very big, very difficult decision. Sometimes those go your way. Sometimes they go the other. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
You can control your reaction.