Opelika, Ala.--Four-star defensive back Stephen Roberts has flipped his commitment, changing from Alabama to Auburn less than two weeks before the annual Tigers vs. Tide Iron Bowl game.
The Under Armour All-American committed to Coach Nick Saban's Crimson Tide in April. However, on Wednesday he decommitted from the Tide and chose Coach Gus Malzahn's Auburn Tigers.
Rated a four-star cornerback by Scout.com, he joins his opelika High teammate, Jakell Mitchell, as a commitment to the Tigers, according to OHS head coach Brian Blackmon.
“I had gotten wind of it Monday and Tuesday I sat down with him and told him that if this was something he wanted to do he really needed to think hard about it," Blackmon tells Inside the Auburn Tigers.
"He needed to make sure he talked with his parents about it and it was the right decision for him, not a fly by night decision where he was going to go back and forth," Blackmon says.
"I wanted to make sure he doesn’t get a terrible reputation of being wishy-washy ‘I’m here now and then on signing day I’m going to be here.' I wanted to make sure he could get firm on a decision. He did that. He came back in and talked with me this morning and decided that’s what he wanted to do.
“I told him he needed to do it the right way and call Coach (Kirby) Smart at Alabama who had recruited you," Blackmon adds. "I told him before you can commit to somewhere else you’re going to have to de-commit from the school. He had done that and he wanted to be an Auburn Tiger.
“I think a lot of this has to do with the success they’ve had,” Blackmon says of Auburn. “Stephen grew up an Auburn fan.”
Late in the season Roberts moved to quarterback after Opelika's starter at that position was lost due to an injury.
Roberts has been a regular at Auburn football games this fall, attending games with his teammate, Mitchell. The two attended Auburn's latest victory on Saturday vs. Georgia.
Making the decision this week to switch his commitment, Blackmon says that in the end he thinks it was about his star player going for his dream.
"I thought at one time his heart was at Auburn and his head was at Alabama," Blackmon notes. "You don't ever know with kids, especially teenagers. I made sure it was something he wanted to do and it wasn't going to be something a week from now he would want to do something different."
Roberts is known as a physical defensive back who has very good speed.
Last season the two led the Bulldogs to the Class 6A state championship game. Mitchell, who was injured in preseason, was unable to play this year for OHS after hurting his knee during the summer. He is almost fully recovered from the injury and will be ready to compete next fall as a college freshman.
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