Cameron Artis-Payne isn't jumping to conclusions or making snap decisions. In the wake of Gene Chizik's dismissal from Auburn, the Santa Maria (Calif.) Allan Hancock Community College running back has returned to evaluation mode. He doesn't plan to immediately break his commitment. As of Sunday afternoon, he remained a member of Auburn's 2013 recruiting class.
Problem is, all of that is subject to change at any moment.
Make no mistake, his standing as a future Tiger is in jeopardy. He'll conference with his parents and junior college coaches before he decides what's next, but saying that he's disappointed in Sunday's news is understating the point.
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"This affects me," Artis-Payne said on Sunday afternoon. "The coaches there were a huge reason why I committed in the first place. I know it was a down year, but they have a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing. That's to be expected in the SEC. I was really hoping they would get one more year. There are a lot of good coaches out there that will never win a national championship. They already did that.
"But I told Coach Chizik when I committed that I might de-commit if there was a change because I knew it was a possibility."
Artis-Payne doesn't like to refer to the schools he will now consider as "backup options." He thinks the term carries a negative connotation. Regardless of how he categorizes them, however, there are other programs in play. His recruitment is teetering on the verge of becoming interesting again.
Washington is likely to get a look. So is Utah State. But if there's still room for him in Salt Lake City …
"As of right now, I think Utah is probably the frontrunner for me," he said. "But I'm just taking in the situation to see what I need to do. I'm not going to do anything right away."
It could very well be that after Artis-Payne takes time to explore his options, he'll re-settle on Auburn. He makes sure to point out that his wavering commitment is worlds different from a de-commitment. Auburn is still very much alive in the race.
Depending on what takes place in the weeks ahead, things could simply return to the norm.
"If Auburn still seems like the best option, I'll stay with Auburn,"Artis-Payne said. "I just need to take some time to talk to some people."
Artis-Payne committed to Auburn on Nov. 8. He chose the Tigers over offers from Washington, New Mexico, Utah and Utah State.