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AU recruits have heavy presence in all-star game

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By JOHN ZENOR
AP Sports Writer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Reuben Foster has been bombarded by recruiting pitches ever since he decided to decommit with Auburn's coaching change.

The Auburn High School linebacker - a former Auburn commitment - won't escape that treatment this week, either. Only now it will come from friends and teammates in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic, not college coaches.

The game Saturday features 5 of Auburn's top verbal pledges, plus the coveted five-star prospect Foster. The group includes Carver-Montgomery quarterback Jeremy Johnson, Muscle Shoals defensive lineman Dee Liner, McGill-Toolen athlete Jason Smith, Dothan defensive back Kamryn Melton and Pinson Valley wide receiver Earnest Robinson.

"Me and Reuben, we've been talking all week," Johnson said. "I'm looking forward to just putting on a great show and then all the Auburn fans can see what they've got coming in. "

2 of Alabama's four in-state pledges - Foley High defensive lineman Darius Paige and Fultondale athlete ArDarius Stewart - are also playing in the game., a showcase for seniors from the two states. The Crimson Tide hasn't had to deal with any turmoil like the Tigers during recruiting.

New Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has been trying to preserve his first recruiting class after the firing of coach Gene Chizik and his staff. They've met with most of the commitments. Johnson and his father visited Malzahn in Auburn on Sunday.

"Playing in coach Malzahn's offense, I'm looking forward to putting up big numbers," Johnson said.

Foster said he plans to announce his destination from a number of schools - including Auburn and Alabama - on national signing day.

Foster has become even more popular since reopening his recruitment. He said coaches from Georgia Tech, Miami, Washington and Georgia visited on Monday alone.

"A lot of them have been coming by, every day," Foster said. "It's been kind of crazy and stressful. I knew it was coming."

He also went to see Malzahn before heading to Montgomery.

"It went great," Foster said. "He said he wants me back on the boat."

So does Smith.

"I'm definitely going to try to get him back in the Auburn family," he said.

He'll have competition from Foster's teammate, Cameron Echols-Luper, who is Texas A&M bound. Luper is the son of former Auburn running backs coach Curtis Luper.

"He told me about it the whole ride up here," Foster said of his teammate. "He's recruiting me very, very hard."

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