What’s up with Jonathan Atchison?

…or What’s up with the media?

Douglass linebacker Jonathan Atchison remains committed to Alabama despite confusion on the Internet. According to BamaOnline.com the linebacker said his visit to Auburn wasn’t sign of a defection, “ I decided to come down here with my uncle, and I didn’t have anything else to do,” said Atchison. “I am still going to Alabama, and I will be going back to Tuscaloosa next weekend.”

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to read Auburn’s take on the visit tells a different story. According a story by Auburn’s Rivals site, “As for a change in commitment, Williams said, “It’s a possibility. We’ll see, though.”

Which report do you believe? Why not try a neutral source like a newspaper?

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According a report on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s site, Atchison isn’t switching his commitment to Auburn. “Douglass linebacker Jonathan Atchison, who was wavering between Auburn and Alabama, said he remains committed to Alabama. ‘I’m just waiting for signing day,’ told the AJC on Sunday night.”

We can trust that? Right?

In most cases sure, but the report also contains a problem, it doesn’t mention Atchison’s visit this weekend to the Plains. So, while the quote from Atchison comes on the night of Jan. 25, it doesn’t provide much additional information and leaves the impression that Atchison didn’t visit Auburn with this quote, “After committing to Alabama, he said he still planned on taking an official visit to Auburn earlier this month. However, Atchison canceled the recruiting trip, although Auburn coaches still are hoping to change his mind before signing day.”

But we know he did take the visit to Auburn since it is widely reported on every recruiting site.

So we are left with some good information from the newspaper, but not a complete picture. This is where we have to look for additional clues in the recruiting service stories.

The biggest clue about the direction Atchison likely leans is contained in the BamaOnline.com story. Atchison will visit Alabama again next weekend. That sounds like a comforting bit of news for any Tide fans worrying about the linebacker.

Fans of any school should take all recruiting reports with a gigantic grain of salt. The one thing recruiting sites thrive on is whipping fans into a frenzy over the hope of landing a coveted recruit. The Auburn story provides no direct quotes from Atchison, but uses a surrogate to provide the best spin possible for Tiger fans.

But why should media spin shock anyone? It is a common feature of the press. It is one reason growing numbers of people won’t read a newspaper.

Were you an Alabama fan depressed by Mike Shula? There were plenty of articles in newspapers trying to cheer you up. Are you an Auburn fan depressed by Gene Chizik? You can find a cheering piece from Charles Goldberg in the Birmingham News.

Goldberg writes that while Chizik has lost numerous Tuberville commitments and has landed only two (note: low quality) commitments of his own but, “don’t be too quick to criticize. His new assistants are rapidly trying to meet new players, and their mamas and daddies.”

Goldberg doesn’t stop pumping the sunshine there. He goes on the offensive against “Benedict” Willis: “All of the other players Willis was recruiting have either stayed with Auburn or are still strongly considering the Tigers. At least one of those questioned why Willis was saying bad things about Alabama just a week earlier. Another wondered why Willis didn’t answer his phone or show up for a recruiting visit in the days leading up to his departure, even though he was still employed by Auburn.”

You have to love when a reporter smears someone without giving any response from Willis. Journalists like to pretend they have ethics, but when a beat reporter for a major Alabama newspaper writes such obvious propaganda for the persons they “objectively” cover—it serves as an embarrassment for all journalists.

It also provides damning information on the way Chizik’s Auburn staff recruits. Unwittingly, Goldberg revealed Chizik had his coaches out badmouthing Alabama. Instead of selling the positives of Auburn, his minions were involved in negative recruiting.