Lions tight end Joe Fauria scored 12 touchdowns for UCLA last season and tied for third in school history with 20 career touchdowns.

But Fauria has always wanted to be known as more since he entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. He wants to be a complete tight end, capable of being a vital instrument in all phases of the offense.

This Sunday, Fauria will get his chance after Brandon Pettigrew was ruled out with an ankle injury.

“I’m very excited,” Fauria said Friday. “And I’m excited to showcase what I can do out there and be out there for longer than just red-zone play and work with Dorin Dickerson and showcase that we can pick up the slack and help our team win.”

Simply put, the 6-foot-7 rookie has been magic in the red zone, racking up seven touchdowns and dancing his way into fans’ hearts. He’s only one touchdown from equaling the single-season record Jim Gibbons set for Lions tight ends in 1964.

But scoring won’t be Fauria’s only responsibility Sunday. Coach Jim Schwartz said shortly before Pettigrew was ruled out that the Lions would need more from Fauria everywhere on the field.