April 22, 2010

Fanning brings elite talent, high spirits to UA

Defensive end LaMichael Fanning is the latest elite prospect the Crimson Tide have been able to steal away from the Auburn Tigers' own backyard and the 6-foot-6, 285-pound pass rusher has drawn praise from scouts and offers from just about every major program in the Southeast.

"He's a freaky physical specimen," said Auburn High School head coach Tim Carter. "He runs like a tight end but he's got the power to run right through just about anybody he's faced. He's got that kind of ability that you just can't coach into a kid."

Carter said that Fanning's decision to roll with the Tide was motivated partly by a desire from Fanning not to be left out of the Tide's rapidly filling 2011 recruiting class.

"Through his entire recruiting process, LaMichael was really kind of quiet. He would have offers come in and he wouldn't really say anything about them. I was really just focused on not pressuring the kid and helping him out anytime he had any questions or needed any help."

"I think ultimately Alabama has been his favorite from the beginning but what made him decide to go ahead and pull the trigger was that he just didn't want to miss his opportunity. He knows there are going to be a lot of other elite kids committing to Alabama in the next few months and I think he wanted to make sure he got on board before he missed his chance."

While the Rivals250 to Watch List star was a terror to opposing offenses on the field last season, Carter said his off-field demeanor is quite different.

"He's a big teddy bear. He's a fun-loving kid who just likes being around other people. The only place he's ever mean is on the field. He's just the kind of guy that everybody likes and never seems to have any problems or issues with other people. That's a good kind of kid to have on your team, the kind that brings people together when there's a problem or conflict."

Fanning chose the Tide over offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas Tech.

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