E.A. Sports Today

Britt gives Auburn treat

Oxford linebacker makes his commitment through Halloween-themed video, picks Auburn over Georgia

Oxford linebacker K.J. Britt stands with his parents holding the big chocolate bar he used to make his commitment to Auburn Monday.

Oxford linebacker K.J. Britt stands with his parents holding the big chocolate bar he used to make his commitment to Auburn Monday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – K.J. Britt held a Halloween party Monday in the Oxford Sports Arena. Everyone wanted to know what he was going to be.

He came dressed as a Tiger.

The Oxford senior linebacker announced his commitment to play football for Auburn.

OK, he didn’t actually wear a tiger suit to the big reveal, but Halloween did play a big part in his announcement.

He made it via a Halloween-themed video shown to a gathering of teammates and classmates.

On the video, Britt answered the door for various trick-or-treaters. He gave nice treats to a ghoul (Hudson Gilman), a Florida Gator (his 9-year-old brother Keenan) and a Georgia Bulldog (Oxford coach Ryan Herring’s son David), but he had “something special” for Herring’s son Matthew dressed as Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.

It was a giant Hershey bar with “official commitment” embossed on the bottom of the label.

The video was shot during a family Halloween party and all the participants had to sign a non-disclosure agreement to take part.

“I thought today was a good day a couple weeks ago,” Britt said. “(The production company) said here are some commitment dates you might want to think about and I just thought today was a good day to get it over with and focus on the (high school) playoffs.”

Britt started to address the crowd after the video was shown but was overcome with emotion. His mother finished his comments.

Britt wasn’t on very many people’s radar a year ago, but since last February he has received interest from nearly three dozen of the top-tier programs in America. His final four on what his mother called “this strategic journey” were Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss and Stanford.

He just returned from his official visit to Ole Miss after helping the Yellow Jackets put the finishing touches on their first undefeated season since 1993 Friday night. He visited Stanford last week.

As the crowd made its way into the arena for the announcement, shirts for Georgia and Auburn were folded neatly on the table where Britt was going to speak.

He said he knew Auburn was the place for him about three weeks ago, but went on the Ole Miss and Stanford visits just to “make sure I did what was best for me.”

“Every time I went to a college and talked to the coach, I was like, ‘Eh,’” he said. “I know where I need to be. I know what I’m supposed to do.”

He graduates from Oxford in December and will start classes at Auburn in January. He wouldn’t have been able to do that at Stanford.

Throughout the process, Britt didn’t let the recruiting interfere with his play on the field or commitment to his teammates. On Friday nights his focus was clearly on the Yellow Jackets’ task at hand.

Herring, wearing an Auburn sweatshirt, said the way his linebacker handled his business made the whole recruiting campaign go smoothly. He praised Britt for his leadership and work ethic.

“He and it was more down-to-earth,” Herring said. “When (Auburn signee) Roc Thomas was here, it was just like what coach from coast-to-coast is going to show up today; you never knew. People wanting to do interviews every day. It was just a hassle.

“This wasn’t. Not one time did this get in the way of our football season. That’s one thing I’ve really respected about it and I’m glad he handled it the way he has.”

Britt said nobody had to tell him Auburn was special. If he didn’t realize before, he was convinced of it after a particular traumatic experience in August that ultimately swayed his commitment.

On the night of the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game in Montgomery, the car Britt was driving — with his brother as a passenger — was rear-ended by an impaired driver at a traffic light on Highway 78. Well wishes poured in from Auburn after the incident.

That made an impression.

“They sent a whole bunch of cards from each coach, signed. They called me as soon as it happened, every coach on the staff checked on me, checked on my brother; they were good to my brother,” Britt said. “That’s big.

“I’m trying to go to a school that’s about family and football. Some schools get caught up in football and not family. I wanted to be part of that family feel. I wanted to be part of their coaches that if something goes wrong they got my back. I wanted to be part of something that’s bigger than football.

“That definitely did something to me. I think God does everything for a reason and maybe the wreck was for a reason. I was sold on going to Georgia. Before that wreck I was going to commit to Georgia on August 6 and I was down, set in stone, but after that wreck it made me realize maybe God didn’t want me there.”

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