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January 21, 2011The nation's No. 3 offensive tackle, four-star Christian Westerman, will sign with Auburn, he announced Friday at Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz.
Westerman, 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, had been committed to signing with Texas since April.
Westerman's decision to change his commitment comes five weeks after an official visit to Auburn and 12 days before Signing Day.
The top-ranked prospect from Arizona began wavering on his pledge to the Longhorns after Texas lost seven games in 2010, its offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
"That changes up a lot of things," Westerman said in December.
Westerman, who has family in Alexander City, Ala., a 40-minute drive from Auburn, as well as Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, said he built a strong relationship with Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes during the recruiting process.
When Grimes was offered the job to be Texas' new line coach earlier this month, and turned it down, it solidified the Tigers as Westerman's new No. 1 choice. Auburn has remained there since.
Westerman received an in-home visit from Grimes, Tiger head coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn while Auburn was in Glendale for the BCS National Championship Game. Westerman also attended one of the Tigers' practices leading up to what would be a 22-19 win over Oregon.
Westerman is Auburn's 19 commitment in the 2011 class and fourth offensive lineman. The Tigers now have commitments from the nation's No. 3 tackle in Westerman, the No. 1 center in Reese Dismukes, the No. 2 guard in Greg Robinson and the No. 43 guard (Thomas O'Reilly). Dismukes and O'Reilly are already enrolled at Auburn.
The No. 3 offensive tackle in 2010, five-star Shon Coleman, also enrolled in classes at Auburn for the spring semester.
The nation's No. 1 tackle, five-star Cyrus Kouandjio, is scheduled to be in Auburn next weekend on an official visit.
At 6-5, 290, Westerman claims a 415-pound bench press max, a 4.8-second 20-yard shuttle and a 27-inch vertical leap. Rivals.com rates him the No. 27 overall prospect in the 2011 class.