Mobile, Ala.--Wednesday morning proved to be big for the Auburn Tigers as they signed one of the top big athletes in the South when Nick Fairley signed on the dotted line at a ceremony at Williamson High School. A 6-4, 255 tight end and defensive end, Fairley could play on either side of the ball for the Tigers but is expected to get his first look on defense.
One of the most impressive players at a Scout.com Combine in Tuscaloosa last summer, Fairley showed that he would be a player to watch in 2006. Measuring in at 6-3 ½, 256, Fairley ran a 4.81 second 40-yard dash on a slow track and also recorded a vertical leap of 30 and a half inches and a standing broad jump of eight feet, 10 inches.
To give you an idea of how his numbers stack up Alabama commitment and four-star linebacker Rolando McClain measured in at 6-3 ½, 234 at the same combine and ran a 4.75 40-yard dash. His shuttle time of 4.6 seconds was slower than the 4.5 turned in by Fairley and his vertical leap was recorded a 31.2, just eight-tenths of an inch more than Fairley. Those statistics alone would make him an interesting prospect but Fairley also can deliver on the field of play.
Playing both offense and defense for the Lions, Fairley had a strong senior season. As a tight end Fairley was used mostly as a blocker but managed to catch five passes for 150 yards and one touchdown. Playing defensive end he also added 90 tackles.
Once teams saw him play there was a line of suitors coming through the school that produced current Auburn defensive end Antonio Coleman and former LSU quarterback Jamarcus Russell. Auburn, Alabama, LSU, West Virginia, Florida State and Southern Miss all pursued Fairley before he narrowed his choices down to the Tigers, Tide and Golden Eagles.
A very similar prospect to former Auburn standout and current Dallas Cowboy Jay Ratliff, Fairley also excels at basketball on the high school level much like Ratliff. A key component for the state's top-ranked Class 5A team, Fairley averages just over 17 points and 10 rebounds per contest.