As we go further without a definite decision one way or the other from Cyrus Kouandjio, the entire circus is becoming even more and more strange with each passing minute. The latest, quoting DeMatha head coach Bill McGregor, per Mike Farrell:
"He’ll choose between Alabama and Auburn," he said. "Right now he just needs some more time to think about it so I’ll call him tonight and see where we’re at. He spoke to Auburn head coach Gene Chizik today because Auburn asked me to set up a conference call with Cyrus and them for noon. He also spoke to Auburn coaches this afternoon but I’m not sure which ones. I spoke to Sal Sunseri at Alabama to keep him in the loop but I don’t think Cyrus has talked to Alabama at all yet, but I could be wrong. I hope he’s getting closer to making a decision."
The emphasis is mine, but I think with very good reason. Everything written on the subject to date continuously talks about Gene Chizik and the Auburn coaching staff speaking with Kouandjio, but not a single time has there been a mention anywhere of Cyrus speaking with Nick Saban, and to my knowledge aside from the aforementioned conversation there have been no other confirmations of Cyrus speaking with anyone on the Alabama staff, not to mention the fact that this conversation with Sunseri was apparently intended merely "to keep him in the loop."
Is that not odd as hell? Of course it is. As much time and energy as our staff, and particularly our head coach, devotes to recruiting, they have barely even picked up the phone to call arguably the top player in the nation after he spurned them on national television in favor of the hated in-state rival? And keep in mind this is the day after National Signing Day, which is about as much of a down time as our coaching staff gets. Exactly how does that make any sense whatsoever? Either we have just detached ourselves from this one entirely and are just letting it runs its course, or for some reason we are avoiding any conversations with McGregor -- who is seemingly informing the media every time he talks to one of the coaches in consideration here; seriously, I think he has about ten journos on speed dial at this point -- and are just going about this directly and privately via Cyrus and his family members. Either way a legitimate possibility, I suppose.
And speaking of the aforementioned McGregor, for what it's worth, his money is apparently on Auburn prevailing in this battle:
"I think he’ll stick with Auburn actually, but I could be wrong," he said. "Like I said, I’m surprised we’re even in this situation so anything can happen. I think he picked Auburn for a reason so I think he’ll stick with that, but I could be off."
At least there is some good news for 'Bama, as per Cyrus himself his brother Arie does hold quite a bit of sway over his ultimate decision. Per the Washington Post:
"My whole family, including my brother, wants me to go to Alabama," Cyrus Kouandjio said. "My brother called me like, 'Brah, what are you doing?'"
Cyrus Kouandjio said his brother holds "a lot" of sway over his college choice. "That's one thing that's tough about it because he wants me to go down to Alabama a lot," he said.
Kouandjio said he has no timetable for his decision, saying it could take up to two days at most to make up his mind after he consults more with his family, pastor and some friends.
Obviously that influence from Arie works in our favor. Having said that, despite that admitted sway, notice the second sentence of the second paragraph, "That's one thing that's tough about it because he wants me to go down to Alabama a lot." I really hate to be that guy who micro-analyzes comments being made by 18-year old kids, especially those likely made in an off-the-cuff matter during a time of distress, but honestly when I read over that initially it came across to me as implying that it's tough going to Auburn mainly because his brother is at Alabama. Maybe I'm wrong, but that is how I read it initially.
Fingers crossed moving forward, this is going to be a big decision one way or the other. To be brutally honest, though, I really don't like how just about any of this sounds for 'Bama, but nevertheless hope for the best. As I've reiterated the past 30 hours or so, we really have nothing to lose here. No matter how long the odds, at least we still have a chance, which is far more than we looked to have after yesterday afternoon.
Update I: Per several readers, the Washington Post is now confirming that Nick Saban has indeed spoken with Cyrus Kouandjio:
Kouandjio said he spoke Thursday with Auburn Coach Gene Chizik and Alabama Coach Nick Saban. But he reiterated that this decision rests solely on him.
"There's not much they can say," he said. "It's all about my heart and my mind right now."
Previously the article from WaPo had him speaking only to Gene Chizik and commenting on how there was not much he can say, but apparently that has since been amended to read that he has spoken with Saban, too, and that there is not much they can say. In the end that might not mean much, but at least it does clear up some of the earlier confusion.
Update II: Per Andrew Bone on Twitter:
Cyrus will decide between Alabama/Auburn. Iowa is not in the mix. Final decision expected tomorrow.
Apparently Cyrus still considers himself as committed to Auburn (puke, I know), so I'm still not feeling optimistic as we enter the final day, but until the fax machine takes off out in the pasture, we can still hope for the best.