His entire life, Andrew Audelin has had to deal with being a small guy playing a sport most people associate with giants — football.

At 5-foot-7, 190-pounds, Audelin is usually going to be the smallest guy on the field. But that hasn’t stopped the Sam Houston State running back from chasing after his dreams.

He has faced taunting from opposing teams every since he took up the sport, and he has a message for those who might take his abilities for granted on account of his stature.

“It’s the size of the fight in the dog,” Audelin said. “It’s been like that my whole life. Being not the biggest guy on the field, I have had to go out and prove that I can play this game. I take it to heart and use my size as an advantage.”

Audelin, who grew up in Miami, came to SHSU last season after rushing for close to 800 yards as a freshman in 2004 at Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kan. The Bearkats had three senior running backs in 2005, so head coach Todd Whitten wanted to bring in a guy who had some experience outside of high school.

The coaching staff scouted all across the country, searching for a junior college guy to bring in and get to know the system to step in when Stevie Smith, Jason Godfrey and Brad Baca graduated.

After watching film on Audelin, Whitten knew they had found their guy.

“I knew we were running out of running backs because we had three seniors last year,” Whitten said. “So that summer (2005), we decided we needed to get a guy with age that had played some. We scoured the whole country, and found a guy that could come in right away.

“We saw some good tape on Andrew and saw that he had good feet and good vision. We brought him in and he liked the university. We knew he had some real talent.”

When he first arrived at SHSU, he earned the nickname “Muffin” because he was always seen eating the baked good around the fieldhouse. He fit right in with the other players and picked up all he could from Smith and Godfrey, two of the best running backs in the Southland Conference.

Audelin made an instant impact for the Kats last season. In the first game of the season, he rushed for 144 yards and scored three touchdowns in the 77-7 victory over Bacone. He saw limited action after that, but he began to earn the trust of his teammates.

Now as the starting running back, he said he hopes to be a leader on and off the field and wants to do whatever he can to get the Kats back to championship form.

“I’m taking this for all it is worth,” Audelin said. “I just want to come out and do my best. What really drives me is my teammates. They crank me up, and if I feel like they are down, I try to step it up and lead by example. Being with my teammates, in the locker room or just hanging out, is what makes this whole thing worthwhile.”

Audelin’s size makes him one of the most dangerous players on the field. He can take a handoff up the middle, disappear in a pile of blockers and defenders and bounce out the other side for a positive gain.

Just when it looks as if he might be stopped, he can shift his feet, make people miss and be gone down the field for six.

And that is the reason Whitten is excited about the upcoming season.

“I’m anxious to really see what Andrew can do when he is getting most of the carries,” the coach said. “We just saw bits and pieces a year ago. He has great leverage, and if you look around the NFL, there are plenty of backs his size. Sometimes, he is a little harder to see, can change direction and has plenty of toughness. I’m really excited about Andrew, and I think he is going to have a great season for us.”

Audelin really stepped up his game during spring drills, and showcased what he was capable of in the annual Orange and White game. He carried the ball 17 times for 89 yards and a touchdown to lead the White squad to a 21-7 victory.

He followed that up with a solid fall camp and is ready to show that he can be the feature back in the Bearkat offense.

“I’m just trying to do my best and make no mistakes,” Audelin said. “That is basically my main focus. I got to sit back and learn from two great running backs in Stevie and Godfrey, and they passed me the torch. My team really thinks I can get it done and that gives me a lot of encouragement.”

Recommended for you