Campbell’s junior tight end Austin Fleming is no stranger to success on the football field. As a senior quarterback at West Stokes High School, Fleming led the Wildcats to an undefeated season (16-0), capped off with a North Carolina State 2AA Championship.
The Wildcats won by a score of 21-14 and Fleming scored all three touchdowns while registering 188 all-purpose yards, 84 passing and 104 rushing. Those impressive statistics earned him the Championship Game Most Valuable Player award.
Fleming’s impressive career also caught the attention of Campbell football’s coaching staff, especially Offensive Coordinator Landon Mariani.
“Austin was a winner and that was the biggest thing for me – a guy who took his team to the state championship as a senior,” said Mariani. “[He was] a very good, multi-sport athlete, and a very confident guy. Those are the three things that really attracted me to him.”
Recruited as a quarterback, Fleming came in hoping to making Campbell a winning program in any aspect of the game that the coaching staff saw fit.
“As a quarterback, I wanted to come in and be the best that I could be,” said Fleming. “Going into it, my dad said, ‘You didn’t come here to play quarterback, you came here to win.’ So at the time, I was like, I’m going to come in here and wherever they need me, they can use me.”
With just five games left in Fleming’s freshman season, he earned playing time, but, for the first time in his football career, not behind center. Fleming was asked to line up alongside the offensive line as a tight end.
“I embraced it. I was upset because I had played quarterback since I was little,” said Fleming. “It was emotional and stressful, but then again, I just wanted to win and help the team as much as possible.”
Fleming went on to put up very impressive receiving numbers. He set a Campbell single season record with 17.9 yards per catch, catching 10 passes for 179 yards with two touchdowns. He also earned College Football Performance Awards FCS Tight End of the Week honorable mention in back to back weeks.
During Fleming’s sophomore season, he played all twelve games at tight end for the Fighting Camels, starting the final three. He aided the Campbell offense with 229 receiving yards on 21 catches with one touchdown.
Now a junior, Fleming has once again lined up behind center, but now in the wildcat formation. Head coach Mike Minter has since embraced how valuable Fleming is to the Camel rushing game.
“He can run, he can throw, and he can catch,” said Minter, “and if you can do all those things you make an offense a whole lot better.”
While Fleming still puts up the impressive receiving numbers like his freshman and sophomore seasons, he has now showcased how much he can do with his feet. Fleming has registered 310 all-purpose yards with 181 rushing on 21 carries, and 129 receiving on 15 catches.
On October 17 at Stetson, Fleming ran for 70 yards in the fourth quarter alone, including runs for 33 and 16 yards, allowing the Camels to run out the clock and secure a win over the Hatters.
“I just enjoy having the spotlight and having the ball in my hands,” said Fleming. “I want to make that play and I want to be that guy that [my coaches] call on. It’s the same thing that Coach Minter emphasizes, he wants those guys that come out and want to make that big play.”
Fleming has also embraced this new role just as he embraced the transition from quarterback to tight end.
“What I bring to the table is a little bit of everything. I can catch the ball and I’m not afraid to go over the middle,” said Fleming. “Anything they want me to do, I am not opposed. When you want to win as bad as I want to win, and as bad as my team wants to win, you’ll do anything to win.”