published Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Kouandjio to Tide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- For three days, Cyrus Kouandjio held Alabama hostage with a pen and a fax machine.

By Saturday evening, one final twist ended the strange recruiting saga that captivated both sides of the Iron Bowl rivalry.

After making a live ESPNU announcement that he'd play at Auburn on Wednesday and then deciding against signing the paperwork, the nation's top offensive line prospect stepped to the fax machine Saturday.

On the receiving end: Auburn's arch enemy. And this time he means it.

The Hyattsville, Md., offensive lineman transmitted his national letter of intent to Alabama on Saturday, making this commitment binding.

The timing of the announcement was yet another twist in the strange tale that started with the nationally televised declaration for Auburn.

Kouandjio's coach at DeMatha Catholic, Bill McGregor, told reporters Friday that he didn't expect a decision to come until Monday.

Instead, resolution came just as the sun was setting late Saturday when Kouandjio became the 24th member of the Crimson Tide's 2011 signing class. It also moved Alabama up to No. 6 in the recruiting class rankings and jumped Auburn for No. 2 in the ESPN version. The Tide already topped the rankings after Wednesday's signing.

Long considered one of the biggest names in the 2011 recruiting class, Kouandjio shot to the top of the rankings. rated the 6-foot-6, 322-pounder the No. 4 overall prospect in the class, while pegged him the second-best high school senior nationally.

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