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July 2, 2008

FREE: Lipscomb a man of his word

Neiko Lipscomb is a man of his word.

Many doubted that the highly regarded cornerback would be able to qualify out of Tucker (Ga.) High School. But when Lipscomb committed and then signed with Auburn in February, he made a promise to the Auburn coaches that he would take care of business in the classroom.

"I didn't want them to waste a scholarship," said Lipscomb. "I told them I would come through. It took me until the last test but I did it."

Lipscomb, who also raised his GPA by making all A's and B's his final two semesters of high school, learned of his qualifying test score late last week and arrived in Auburn Tuesday.

The good news came as a big relief to him and his family.

"It took the stress off my back," said Lipscomb. "I didn't want to waste a couple of years in junior college. I wanted to start right.

"To hear that I did it, I was very happy."

Lipscomb, who checked in at 6-foot-1, 174 pounds, has already had his physical and started classes Wednesday.

"I'm getting acquainted with my teammates and coaches and trying to get around," said Lipscomb. "This is my new home so I'm trying to get used to it."

Auburn's players will have a NCAA-mandated week off starting Thursday, so Lipscomb won't be able to go through his first AU workout until July 10.

"It was exciting seeing (the workout) yesterday," said Lipscomb. "I wasn't a part of it but I was on the sidelines checking out what coverages they were in and trying to get familiar with the signs so when I do get in, I'll know what I'm doing."

Lipscomb said he's excited about the opportunity to compete for playing time at cornerback in Auburn's thin secondary.

"I'm going to do my best out on the field and try to get a lot of reps so the coaches can get a feel for me and I can get a feel for what they want," he said. "I think a lot of us will have a chance to come in and help this year.

"It's going to be a fight and a battle for each position. That's what we're here for. I know these coaches are going to have the best man on the field."

But it's not just about football anymore for Lipscomb. He now has his academic career at the top of his list of priorities.

"First, I want to be on top of my grades so that situation doesn't happen again," he said.

A promise kept, a lesson learned.

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