Hoover, Ala.--Auburn is just one week away from the reporting date for the 2007 football season and Coach Tommy Tuberville says the Tigers are still waiting on news for several of the freshman expected to be on the field this season. While it's not unusual to still be waiting on players this late, Tuberville says this season is a little different because of the circumstances involved surrounding the situation in Mobile and with Chris Slaughter coming out of prep school.
"We're still waiting on a few guys academically to make it," Tuberville says. "Our true freshmen, most are already here that are going to be here. Ryan Williams and Chris Slaughter and Eltoro Freeman, we should know something by Monday on all of them. Hopefully we can get it all cleared up."
While Freeman's situation is simply a case of clarification involving grades and test scores at Benjamin Russell, the situation with both Williams and Slaughter is much different. A good student at B.C. Rain High in Mobile, Williams' name has been circulated concerning grade changing accusations in the school system. Tuberville says that has caused a slowdown in his request to be cleared and approved at Auburn.
"What happens is when something happens that could be a NCAA violation, the NCAA goes in and we send our people in to do an investigation," Tuberville says. "Even though he might be cleared by the NCAA, our university has to clear him also. My understanding is that it's getting pretty close. Obviously they had the problem down there and they'll have a lot of work to do when this is over with. We just want to make sure the right thing is done. If the kid is eligible he needs to get going with is career."
While Williams is expected to be cleared and had all the necessary work to be a full qualifier, the story is different for Freeman and Slaughter. Tuberville says both should learn something soon with Slaughter's situation one that is puzzling to the veteran coach.
"With Eltoro they are still looking at some test scores," Tuberville says. "He's got to get a clarification from the NCAA and we should know something on that in the next 48 hours. Slaughter is eligible but the problem is that the NCAA is really starting to crack down on junior colleges and prep schools and they make you jump through hoops to get them in school.
"I don't know whether they're trying to get people away from junior colleges and prep schools but I think they're good…my understanding is that all of his stuff has been in since April or May. He only had to do just a few things. He's had to jump through hoops. It hasn't been his fault. It has been a slow process getting everything from the prep school to the NCAA and we all know how fast that process is."
One surprise for the incoming class could be the addition of talented lineman Nick Fairley. An outstanding player at Williamson that also saw his name caught up in the Mobile mess, Fairley appears to be on the cusp of getting qualified and Tuberville says they're just waiting to hear the final verdict.
"I think it's still out there," Tuberville says of Fairley's status. "When all this happened you kind of get out of the way and let the right people do the right things. I think the school system down there has a lot of work to do, the people from our school have a lot of work to do, and the NCAA has a lot of work to do. This is two young people's lives and you want to make sure you do the right thing. If they're eligible they're eligible and if they're not they're not. That's the bottom line."