Wekiva, Fla.--While the prospects took center stage for this weekend’s Auburn football recruiting picnic, the best story of the day came when 2016 signee Tashawn Manning was able to make the trip up with his family after finishing his cancer treatments. Planning to get back to Auburn for a game this fall and enroll in classes in January, Manning said it was great to be back on the Plains once again.
“It feels like I’m coming back home again,” Manning said of his visit. “It was just wonderful. The Auburn family, the coaches, everything was wonderful.”
Going through daily chemo treatments, sometimes up to three hours a day, Manning said that ultimate goal of getting to Auburn was something that pushed him throughout a tough year when he wasn’t sure if he would ever get to live out that dream. With an original time-line of three years for treatments that got shortened to nine months, Manning said it was all about focusing on a goal.
“It was very important keeping it on my mind during the hard times,” Manning said. “Getting out of the hospital, it was the first thing on my mind was getting there (Auburn).”
Getting to sit down and talk with the coaches on his visit, Manning said it was good to see them again after they were so good to him during such a difficult process.
“It was wonderful,” Manning said. “They stayed in contact with me the whole entire time. They were just great support.”
Wrapping up his final treatment on July 10, Manning said at the moment he has to do check-ups every month. Eventually that will go to every few months. Right now however he said just getting everything behind him was huge.
“It’s awesome just knowing I don’t have to go to the hospital everyday,” Manning said. “It was a giant relief knowing I don’t have this weighing on my shoulders. Now I can focus on the other aspects I want to focus on like football and school.
“I’m cancer free,” he added. “Right now I have checkups every month and then after a year it’s going to be every three months.”
Taking two classes at Valencia Community College and two more this fall, Manning said he’s ready to get to Auburn and start his life on the Plains. As for his future on the football field, Manning said he’s just going to give it his best and see what happens and try to match what Shon Coleman did and maybe improve on it.
“I’m pretty much cured and I’m going great, awesome,” Manning said. “It’s very inspiring knowing somebody went through the same things I went through. I could follow straight in his footsteps and maybe do better.”