Redshirt Report: Darius Mann

Freshman strong safety Darius Mann visited with Inside The Ville recently and talked about the adjustment to college football, changing positions and more

For many college freshmen, finding out that you are going to redshirt your freshmen year and spend the season working on the scout team is a difficult thing to hear. Count Louisville freshman strong safety Darius Mann among the group that had a hard time adjusting to not being one of the focal points of the team.

Just like many in the 2005 freshman class, Mann was 'the man' on his high school team. As a senior at Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ), he saw plenty of time on both sides of the ball, rushing for 527 yards - nine per carry - and 8 touchdowns, while also leading his team with 90 tackles.

"It's a lot tougher then I thought it would be," said Mann, adding that the speed of the college game is the biggest adjustment. "It's a lot more fun, but it's a lot faster."

Instead of being on the sideline as a freshman, Mann spends game day in the stands, meeting fans and cheering on his teammates.

"It's exciting, but frustrating a little because you want to be out there," he said. "This is an exciting team to watch though and I know that I have next year."

Being apart of what most - including your's truely - believe was the strongest recruiting class in the history of the Louisville football program, means much more competition then he experienced on his No.2 nationally ranked Don Bosco squad.

"Some of these guys come from Florida and they play some of the best football around," he said. "I came in with a bunch of guys that know how to win, so that helps make team better already."

Mann, who reported to U of L at 6-foot, 220-pounds, spent only the first few days of fall camp working at his expected strong safety position. The former first-team All-League performer was chosen to add depth to the Cardinals running game as the team approached it's season opener.

"It didn't bother me," he said of the move to running back. "It made me a lot closer to the entire team, especially with the guys on offense."

However a few weeks later and despite seeing glimpses of the power running that helped him succeed with the ball in his hands on the high school level, Mann was moved back strong safety.

"Coach P told me to just keep working hard and then hopefully next spring I will be able to show what I can do on the field," said Mann.

While he has since realized the importance of his role on the scout team, it's the opportunity to try to defend on of the nation's toughest offenses that has left an impression on Mann the most.

"It's hard, because they are a bunch of really good athletes and they are huge, especially the guys on the line," he said.

The extra year is also allowing Mann, who measures in closer to 200-pounds now, to improve and become accustomed to the speed of the college game.

"I'm the kind of guy that will come and make the tackle, but right now I'm still working on my covering skills," he explained.

As for how he might feel when he does finally take the field in the season opener next fall?

"I don't know, wow, I just might pass out."

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