For many football recruits, signing day is the culmination of a journey filled with years of hard work. The same is true for Auburn commit Tashawn Manning, but to fulfill his dream of playing at the next level, he has to defeat cancer first.
“(Manning) is a tough young man,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Wednesday. “After he signed his papers, I said what are you going to do to celebrate and he went to go get chemo.”
The three-star defensive tackle was one of 12 players to sign Wednesday with Auburn, increasing the Tigers 2016 commitments to 21. Manning was diagnosed with cancer three months ago, but the team promised to honor its pledge to Manning as he battles the illness.
Manning’s story is eerily similar to former Auburn offensive lineman Shon Coleman.
Coleman was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 shortly after signing his letter of intent to play at Auburn. The offensive lineman eventually recovered and played in 33 career games for the Tigers over the past three seasons. He declared for the upcoming NFL draft at the end of last season.
“(Manning) is a guy that we’re very excited about in the future,” Malzahn said. “We really feel like it will be a Shon Coleman story all over again.”
The Tigers hope that Manning can recover and join a talented 2016 defensive class.
“He’s got a great attitude and we truly believe he’ll be with us in a short period of time,” Malzahn said.