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From Backup to Pre Season All-SEC -- A Lesson In Perseverance

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As blue and orange confetti rained down on him in University of Phoenix Stadium, he almost couldn't believe he was actually experiencing the moment. It was January 10th, 2011 and his team, the Auburn Tigers, had climbed from near the bottom of the Top 25; to defeat the Oregon Ducks and win the BCS National Championship with a thrilling last second field goal.

In some ways his own journey had mirrored the rise of his team to the top of the college football world.

Auburn's starting Right Tackle Brandon Mosley had climbed over obstacles and fought through years of frustration to get to this place. Despite being a standout at Jefferson (Georgia) High School, it had appeared he might never get a chance to play Division 1 football.

In high school he was an All Region basketball player and All State Tight End in football. Yet he was not even listed on any of the Scouting services recruiting pages. It may have been because he played for a small Single-A school or it may have been he was just disrespected. What ever the case, he was disappointed.

He considered trying the walk-on route but he but didn't have the academic eligibility coming out of high school. So he enrolled in Georgia Military College, a noted Juco school that has a record of sending players to the University of Georgia. However, the constant marching all day and five a.m. roll calls quickly convinced Brandon that the military environment was not for him.

Yet he did not head for home. Instead he enrolled in Coffee Community College in Coffeeville, Kansas. The treeless flat prairie land of rural Kansas had to feel like being in exile for a boy from Georgia. Nevertheless he stuck it out. There was nothing to do in Coffeeville but study and play football. So football would be his savior in that barren place.

Then came what appeared to be yet another setback; he was given the discouraging news that he would be red shirted. Brandon couldn't help but wonder if his dream would ever come true. It's at this point that a lot of Juco players cash in their dreams and head for home. But not Brandon Mosley, he persevered and wound up starting half of his second year at Tight End and the other half at Defensive End.

He only got to play the one season for Coffeeville but the 6'6" 280 pounder's performance finally started attracting attention from several D-I schools. He finished that year with 35 tackles, four for a loss, with two sacks as a defensive end and was named to the All-Jayhawk Conference team as a tight end.

The kid who was not on anyone's radar screen coming out of high school, now found himself rated by Rivals as a 4-star tight end. He had offers from Kansas, Florida State, Arkansas, and Auburn among others.

There was no doubt he wanted to be a Tiger after he attended the 2009 Iron Bowl.  He remarked at the time, "It was awesome. It was big-time. It would be awesome to play there. I've been to a few Georgia games, but I haven't seen anything like that." 

After he signed with Auburn, he was told he had to put on 30lbs. and play offensive tackle, a position he had never played before. He took on the new challenge and became good enough to be number two on the depth chart. In the fourth game of the year he took over for an injured AJ Greene at right tackle.

And now the guy no body wanted coming out of high school, the guy who had to spend lonely years laboring away in obscurity in Milledgeville, Georgia and Coffeeville, Kansas, the guy who had to learn a new position, the guy who had been a backup ... yes that guy now owns three championship rings and is the pre season ALL-SEC veteran lineman for the Auburn Tigers.

The old man has gone from Juco to backup to veteran leader of the offensive line for the Defending National Champions. In so doing he is an example to a new young Auburn team of ... "A lesson in Perseverance."

It's that kind of character and that kind of leadership that can help a team face tough times like Auburn faced last Saturday in Columbia. The Tigers will have to face even more tough battles before this season is over and Brandon Mosley will be there - like an anchor for a young offensive line.