Iron Bowl rivalry renewed

POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. -- Deciding between Alabama and Auburn is a familiar debate in the Yellowhammer State, and one that has divided offices, living rooms and families from Huntsville to Mobile.

For ESPN 150 WR Earnest Robinson (Pinson Valley, Ala./Pinson Valley), the question has weighed on his mind for over a year now. Sure, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound receiver also has offers from programs such as Arkansas, FSU, LSU, Miami and Oregon, but in the end most programs realize that it almost always boils down to War Eagle or Roll Tide with the best players in Alabama. The state rankings do little to prove otherwise.

Robinson has shown he is worthy of being mentioned as one of the best, not only in Alabama, but in the country. As a junior, Robinson caught 65 passes for 600 yards and 13 touchdowns and earned his first offer from the national champion Crimson Tide. When he arrived home, he was admittedly excited about the opportunity, and Alabama was at the top of his list. At that point, the chances of Robinson leaving the state were minimal.

"My parents do not want me to go too far away from home so they can come watch me play," Robinson said. "I want to stay close to home and make it easier for the family."

While Alabama had the early lead, Robinson's recruitment was far from over as the Under Armour All-American became a top priority for in-state rival Auburn. According to Pinson Valley coach Matt Glover, both staffs have sent mail to Pinson Valley every few days and call every week to keep up with Robinson. But where Alabama's approach with Robinson was business-like, the Auburn staff was more aggressive and up-tempo. After taking in a few junior days in January and February, Robinson was ready to make his choice.

"I thought about it for a while, and one day I woke up and told my momma I wanted to go to Auburn," Robinson said. "I like how Coach [Tommy] Thigpen treats me like family and I know at Auburn they want me to graduate more than anything. I wanted to make my family proud, so my mom was really excited to hear the news. My dad is an Auburn fan and some in my family are as well."

The main appeal to Robinson was the possibility of making an early impact for the Tigers, as well as the difference in schemes.

"Playing time is really important, and Auburn has told me I can play when I get there," Robinson said. "I like how Auburn does the spread and gives more guys the chance to make plays. Alabama is more of a running team with one go-to receiver."

However, his recruitment did not end after his commitment to the Tigers, although Robinson thinks the latest push in his recruitment could have come out of spite.

"I think Alabama just wants me because I committed to Auburn," Robinson said. "They were not on me as much before I committed, then Lance Thompson told me that Auburn would not be good for me and that the Crimson Tide was the way to go."

Still, the rising senior wideout is expected to visit Tuscaloosa on Monday, leaving the door cracked open somewhat for the Crimson Tide to sneak in and switch Robinson from their hated rival.

"I am committed to Auburn, but you never know," Robinson said.

Let the Iron Bowl recruiting rivalry continue.