Exciting Time for Exciting Player

Mario Fannin is a talented athlete who could likely be a solid player at any skill position. At Auburn he's a tailback, where he says he's excited to prove himself this spring.

Auburn, Ala.--Mario Fannin was one of the top prospects in a loaded class of 2006 for Tommy Tuberville, but the all-around athlete redshirted while making the transition to the college level. He was a passing and running threat as a quarterback at Lovejoy, Ga., High School and he spent time last season as a receiver on the Auburn scout team.

Now after settling in at running back, Fannin says that it's an important spring as he fights for playing time as a redshirt freshman.

"I want to stay at running back," he explains. "It's a challenge to me, but it's a challenge I'm ready for. I guess it's like running the ball in high school. When I ran, I ran and when I threw, I threw. Right now it's just running and I love it.

"I'm real excited about this spring," Fannin continues. "I'm going into it with a lot of knowledge from last year so it's not like I'm blind anymore. I have a better chance of getting the starting position this year. I'll just be out there working hard with my teammates and I'm ready for the spring."

Built like a tank when he arrived on campus, after a year of Yoxercise he's checking in at 5-11, 220 pounds.

"I've gotten stronger, I've gotten faster and I've even gained weight," Fannin notes. "Right now everything is looking good. The team was working out hard this winter and we all got a little better."

Fannin is shown gliding through the air as a freshman.

Competing against Brad Lester, Ben Tate and Tristan Davis this spring and Enrique Davis when he arrives this fall, there won't be enough footballs to go around but Fannin is expected to get his hands on the football in the running game, the passing game and even special teams for running backs/special teams coach Eddie Gran.

Heading into the spring Fannin is listed at the top of the punt returner list with Robert Dunn.

"Coach Gran was looking for a playmaker in that aspect of the game so I'm glad he chose me," Fannin says. "I'm going to go out there and work as hard as I can to get better so I'll have a chance as the punt returner."

Fannin adds that he played that role in one game his 10th grade year. He fielded two punts and returned both for a touchdown. He was a good baseball player as a center fielder in high school, but says it's much tougher fielding punts because of the movement of the ball caused by a spiral.

"I'm just going to go out there this spring and give it my all and hopefully I can open the coaches' eyes a bit," he says.

While the Tigers are going to have a busy March on the football field, they must still take care of their work in the classroom, where Fannin is taking 18 hours.

"School is good and everything is good," he explains. "It's a lot different than high school. The first semester is pretty tough but this semester I kind of know what to expect so I'm doing good. Right now I decided to go undeclared but I was physical therapy."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories