Bud Elliott (SB Nation)
The rumors have been circulating for a while, and on Monday evening, five-star defensive lineman Dee Liner decommitted from Auburn.
Five-star defensive lineman Dee Liner decommitted from Auburn Monday, according to Justin Hokanson at auburnsports.com ($). The news finally ends weeks of speculation that the Muscle Shoals product would be moving on from the Tigers.
"Auburn is out of it," Liner told Hokanson. "There's a couple of schools I'm looking at, I don't want to let many people know. I'll just make my decision on signing day."
Rivals ranks Liner as a five-star player and the No. 2 defensive end in the Class of 2013. ESPN and 247Sports list him as a four-star defensive tackle.
As bad as losing out on a talent like Liner is for Auburn, it may get worse. As the rumors spread that Liner would be decommitting from the Tigers, many speculated that he would flip to Alabama. Liner says that isn't certain yet, but he did mention the Crimson Tide to Hokanson:
"Alabama is one of my favorites, but my decommitting from Auburn has nothing to do with Alabama," Liner said. "I just didn't feel comfortable with the coaching staff. I've been holding it in, I just had to get it off my shoulders."
With Liner gone, questions now arise about Auburn's chances at landing two other top defensive prospects, Reuben Foster and Carl Lawson. Foster is a former Auburn commit, and Lawson is currently pledged to the Tigers, but the three players have a strong relationship, and losing Liner may cause Auburn to miss out on Foster and Lawson.
The biggest question regarding Liner: If he does flip to Alabama, how will Crimson Tide fans, who have repeatedly called him a thug, backpedal? We're sure they'll think of something.