Wekiva defensive end Tashawn Manning signs with Auburn despite leukemia diagnosis

By Andy Wontor, Bright House Sports Network
Last Updated: Friday, February 05, 2016, 7:19 PM EST

Just a few months ago, Tashawn Manning had it all. The Wekiva defensive end was one of the top linemen in the nation, committed to Auburn University, ringing in at 6’4 and 270-pounds.

But on the brink of becoming an SEC football player, devastating news rocked Manning’s world. Originally admitted to the hospital for pneumonia, Tashawn and his family were told it was Leukemia on Thanksgiving morning.

“I was just surprised and shocked,” said Tashawn. “It’s just a lot of crazy emotions running through your head.”

“For that brief moment, this is not fair. It’s not fair,” said Tashawn’s dad, Buck Manning, when asked what went through his head upon hearing the news. “And that was just a tough thing to get over right there.”

That Friday, the day after hearing the news, Tashawn started chemotherapy. “It was pushed to the way, way back of my mind. I had to look towards the future,” said Tashawn.

Tashawn is now in his second round of chemo. His flat top is gone and he wears a hat to hide what is left. He also lost 30 pounds but his strength is slowly returning. And the latest biopsy? No cancer cells to be found.

“We still have a plan, he is still going to Auburn and we still have a path we have to follow,” said Nakia Manning, Tashawn’s mom.

For more on Tashawn Manning’s story, click on the video link.