National recruiting has made Iron Bowl less focused on in-state rivalry


The oldest storyline about the Iron Bowl is now obsolete.

You know, the one that goes this is the biggest game of the year for the players because it pits neighbor against neighbor. The way recruiting has changed — with Auburn concentrating more than ever on the increasing amount of talent in Georgia — and Alabama becoming a national brand with a national recruiting scope, there are simply fewer cases of in-state players choosing one school over the other.

Among the Auburn in-state players expected to be major contributors in Saturday’s game, only three were heavily recruited by Alabama. Tre’ Williams of St. Paul’s, Kerryon Johnson of Madison Academy and star true freshman Marlon Davidson. All three have proven to be terrific players.

Among Alabama major contributors, the number is nine, led by Reuben Foster and Rashaan Evans from Auburn High, and the state’s No. 1 player two years ago, Daron Payne of Birmingham.

The Iron Bowl is still the biggest rivalry on the schedule for both teams. But a big part of what made it special for decades has certainly become a less significant part of it.

For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.