Auburn freshman is an inspiration

Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele recounted a great story in his first press conference of the spring this week. Steele was talking with several players and assistant coaches following Auburn’s first practice of the spring. Apparently everyone was in agreement that the practice had been particularly grueling.

Steele then turned to freshman defensive tackle Tashawn Manning and asked what he thought of his first day on the field as a college player. Manning was sporting a huge smile when he said, “It was great, coach.”

Manning knows grueling.

Grueling is spending the Thanksgiving holiday of your high school senior year being diagnosed with cancer.

Grueling is losing 40 pounds due to chemotherapy treatment.

Grueling is the long road back to not only being cancer free but also being able to compete at the SEC level as a defensive lineman.

But that’s exactly where Manning stands today. Both Manning and Brodarious Hamm are now a part of the Auburn football team after overcoming cancer.

They are following in the footsteps of Shon Coleman,  who starred at Auburn after recovering from cancer. All three young men are an inspiration.

Keep smiling, Tashawn.

For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.

Stephen Root