Juco Back Still Committed To Tigers?

Cameron Artis-Payne discusses the dismissal of Auburn coach Gene Chizik and how that impacts his decision.

Santa Maria, Cal.—Coaching changes are never easy on the players and recruits looking at a particular school, but when it was announced on Sunday that Auburn had fired coach Gene Chizik the news was especially troubling for the Tigers' junior college running back commitment Cameron Artis-Payne.

Graduating from Allan Hancock College this December after breaking the school record for rushing yards and touchdowns this season, Artis-Payne only just committed to the Tigers in early November following an official visit. With just weeks until he can sign and enroll in school Artis-Payne said the news is something that he has to take strongly into consideration.

"It definitely impacts my decision," Artis-Payne said. "Signing day for me is Dec. 19. I'm a mid-year transfer so it impacts my decision. As of right now I'm just sitting back with my parents and my coaches and re-assessing what's best for me and if Auburn University is still what is best for me. I would still rather be a Tiger at the end of the day, but we'll just have to see how it goes."

Still committed to Auburn at the moment with Utah, Utah State and Washington among the schools still trying to get the big back, Artis-Payne said how soon a new coach and staff is in place at Auburn will determine how and if his decision could change.

"It will depend on how soon the coach is hired," Artis-Payne said. "At the end of the day I have to make a decision on what I'm going to do. It's almost time for me to get ready to pack my bags and head off to school. I want to be comfortable with that decision and have enough time to sit back on that decision."

Visiting late in the 2012 season when the Tigers had already suffered through defeat after defeat, Artis-Payne said even though he visited and ultimately committed, he knew there was a chance something could happen with the staff following such a bad season.

"I was prepared for the news," Artis-Payne tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I knew there was a chance going into this situation with Auburn that Coach Chizik wouldn't be there next year. I was hoping he would get another year and they would turn it around, but I knew there was a chance, especially yesterday after the loss in the Iron Bowl. I knew there was a chance and I was prepared for it."

Waiting to see what happens on the Plains before a final decision is reached, Artis-Payne said that the atmosphere and environment created by Chizik and his staff is something that was big for him and he's hoping to see that out of the new staff as well.

"As of right now I'm still committed to Auburn University," Artis-Payne said. "I loved everything about the school. I wish the coaching staff would have gotten another year. I love coach (Curtis) Luper and coach Trooper Taylor. They had a real family environment, a place I was comfortable at, a place my family was comfortable with. At the end of the day hopefully the new coaching staff will have an environment similar to that."

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