April 17, 2013

NOTEBOOK: Artis-Payne savoring second chance

AUBURN | Forget the "couch to 5k" movement.

Cameron Artis-Payne has higher aspirations. The junior-college transfer, who is trying to become Auburn's top tailback this fall, said he was "sitting on the couch" two years ago after all but abandoning his dream to play college football. Yet his high-school coach from Pennsylvania made a few calls, secured a spot for Artis-Payne at a school on the opposite coast and created an opportunity.

It wasn't wasted.

After rushing for 2,400 yards during his two seasons at Allan Hancock College -- located 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles -- Artis-Payne now feels prepared to become The Next Big Thing at Auburn.

"It's just something I've always wanted to do," Artis-Payne said. "I felt like I could play at (this) level so I just never gave up on it. I just kept training and trying to find an opportunity in order for me to make a move to get back to where I wanted to be."

Artis-Payne is working alongside Tre Mason and Corey Grant to earn the top spot as Auburn's "4" (featured) tailback. Though he grew up wanting to play basketball in college, his work as a point guard is approaching legendary within the Auburn intramural circuit, he now embraces his new, true calling.

Coach Gus Malzahn wants a durable, physical back to spearhead the Tigers' ground game. Artis-Payne appears to be the perfect complement.

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