"Basically, it is a way for me to get on the field faster and help the team," Fannin says of the position change. "I told the coaches when I got here I just wanted to help the team this year."
Fannin, who is also working on special teams including an assignment as a kickoff returner, notes that he has a little bit of experience as a wide receiver. "I played two games in high school (as a junior)," he says. "I had two catches for about 46 yards. After that is when I made the switch to quarterback."
The speedy freshman wasn't able to show all of his quickness at Tuesday's practice after the Tigers returned to the field after taking the day off on Monday. Recovering from a hip pointer injury, Fannin notes he isn't full speed right now.
"I was trying to run today," he says. "It was still a little sore, but I think it is coming back. I can plant a little better. I can see myself full speed in the next week."
Mario Fannin is a player with excellent speed who has shown good receiving skills in preseason drills.
Noting that position move was something he and the coaching staff both feel good about, he says that they told him he has big-play potential as a receiver. "They believe one on ones with me in the open field, I will win," Fannin says. Head coach Tommy Tuberville notes it won't be easy, but says Fannin has a chance to contribute as a receiver this fall and notes he could also help on special teams.
The move to receiver didn't have anything to do with Fannin not performing well at running back, AU's coaches point out. Position coach Eddie Gran says he likes how the freshman was progressing at tailback and Fannin agrees.
"I think I made it good," Fannin says of his adjustment to playing running back for the Tigers. "I was still learning. Coach Gran told me I still had a lot to learn. I basically sat back and watched Kenny (Irons) and all of the older guys and tried to learn as much as I can while they were here. I think I made the adjustment well. I still had a lot more to do."
Fannin says he isn't sure if the move to wide receiver is a permanent one. "I am going to the wide receiver position just like at running back," he says. "I am going to give it my all. If it leads me to staying there, then I will stay. If it leads me to going back to running back, I will go back to running back."