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Saturday, February 5, 2011
Cyrus Kouandjio chooses Alabama

By Jamie Newberg
ESPN Recruiting

The Auburn-Alabama rivalry added another chapter Saturday when Cyrus Kouandjio of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha signed his letter of intent with the Crimson Tide.

Kouandjio, ranked No. 3 player in the ESPNU 150 and top offensive line prospect in the nation, signed with the Tide after telling a national television audience on signing day he was going to play for Auburn.

"Yes, I signed with Alabama," Kouandjio said. "I'm just glad it's done."

Kouandjio posted on his Facebook page earlier he would play with his older brother Arie, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman, at Alabama followed by "ROOLLLLL TTIIIDDDEEE!!!" The Facebook post drew hundreds of comments in the first hour.

The decision ends a whirlwind four days for Kouandjio, his family and DeMatha coach Bill McGregor.

After announcing he was going to Auburn on ESPNU's signing day special, the fax machine at Auburn never received confirmation. McGregor said Wednesday Kouandjio needed some time to "figure things out."

"Cyrus told me after the press conference that he was not 100 percent sure of his decision to sign with Auburn," McGregor said earlier in the week. "I told him he doesn't have to please anyone with his decision, not his family, not his friends, not me. This decision is his and his only. I told him what makes him happy, makes me happy."

In the end, it looks like that was the Crimson Tide.

The addition of Kouandjio bolsters Alabama's class but it wasn't enough to push the Tide past Florida State for the top spot in the ESPN rankings. The Tide remain in the mix for the nation's No. 1 prospect, five-star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and his addition could be enough to give Alabama the No. 1 ranking. Clowney, one of only three players remaining uncommitted in the ESPNU 150, is scheduled to announce his decision on Feb. 14.

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.