Make Way for the Freezer

By MikeBullock  |   Tuesday, August 10, 2010  |  Comments( 2 )

Auburn Tigers
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How often do you see a 290 lbs. running back? More to the point, how often do you see one who ran for 3000 yards in high school? Granted, the number of high school players physically equipped to take down a 290 lbs. tailback are few and far between.

Auburn’s newest fullback, Ladarious Phillips, a freshman out of Handley High in Roanoke, Alabama might find a few more takers in the college ranks. However, if he manages to plow through to the second level, it’s a safe bet most defensive backs won’t want any part of what Phillips brings to the table.

While most see Phillips and instantly assume he’s a lineman, the fact is he’s uncannily gifted for a man of his size. His last official 40-time was 4.8, which isn’t impressive until you do the mass times speed equation and realize that’s an awful lot of unstoppable force freight training down the field. And, Phillips isn’t just a one trick pony, as was William “The Refrigerator” Perry, oh no. Phillips has an amazing amount of nimbleness and agility for a man who has more in common physically with Pat Williams than Ricky Williams.

All this power and dexterity has Auburn’s feature tailback, Mario Fanin grinning from ear to ear.

"He's going to shock a lot of people,” Fannin said, “because he's so big, but he's so athletic. He's a guy who can get out of the backfield and catch it. He'll catch it one-handed. I've seen it.''

While many, including Phillips himself, believe he needs to shed a few pounds, the big man is completely fixated on maximizing his potential at the next level. While learning the playbook has challenged him, he’s taken it in stride.

"That's the big jump,” Phillips said. “I'm enjoying it, though.”

A quick Youtube search brings up some amazing game clips of Phillips flattening his opposition and racing for daylight over and over again. If you have some free time, pull it up for yourself. It’s akin to watching Jerome Bettis in his prime playing against a bottom ranked 1AA school.

It’s quite possible Phillips will spend more time blocking for Fanin than toting the rock himself, but with or without the ball in his hands, chances are this kid is going to take the wood to a lot of SEC defenders over the next four years.

While things will certainly get tougher for Phillips in the collegiate ranks, if he can continue to improve and remain injury free, Auburn’s running game will make a lot of people sit up and take notice this season, especially the Auburn quarterback and wide receivers who will benefit from the frustration such a running attack imposes on opposing defenses.
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