Football Prospect Looking Forward to AU Visit

This high school senior, who plans to take a visit to AU this weekend, discusses his interest in the Auburn football Tigers.

Milton, Fla.--Auburn commitment Zach Kutch grew up playing soccer and was very talented in the sport from a young age. The kicker says that he even had dreams of pursuing a soccer career into and beyond college as recently as three years ago.

However, the Milton High senior notes that things started to change for him following his freshman year of high school. "The summer before my sophomore year I really started kicking then and I really got into it," Kutch explains. "I had a guy that came up to school one day and he said he would help me out and he helped me transition (from soccer to football). It was hard at first to learn because in soccer you kick the ball and pull your head up right a way and you do all kind of different things so it took me a while to catch on, but I caught on.

"I had a pretty decent sophomore year on varsity as a starting kicker," he adds. "Then, I really got down and was working hard going into my junior year and I really put a ton of time into it and it paid off my junior year. I was the number one kicker in AAA in the state and one of the top three kickers in the state and all of the other accolades that came with that and it just kind of took off from there."

With much less than a die hard football dosage while he was growing up, Kutch notes that once he got into the game he had a bit of a tough time deciding which teams he wanted to pull for. "Yeah, it is kind of weird," he says. "I played soccer my whole life so I wasn't really into football hardly at all. I never really grew up watching football. But, I got into football and I started watching a little bit of football and I started liking the Florida Gators at first. I don't know why. I just liked the Gators, I guess. Then, my brother, he is two years older than I am, he went to Florida State and I just caught on to that trend with my parents and started liking the Seminoles a little bit.

"Then, eventually I just caught on to Auburn," he adds. "I had some friends liking them and I watched some of their games on TV and started liking them a lot and went from there. That was probably about a year ago."

Kutch has had an easier time learning how to kick a football than picking a favorite team and in three short years has become one of the top place kicking and kickoff prospects in the nation. His last two seasons he hit 52-55 of his extra point attempts and 24-33 field goals attempts with long kicks of 51 and 55 yards as a senior.

The kicker and safety for Milton High adds that he has also been almost perfect in keeping opposing teams from having the chance to return a kickoff. "There were only two kickoffs I didn't have touchbacks on," he explains. "One was an onside kick and the other we had to take a safety on a punt and I had to kick from our 20 and I still put it to the 10-yard line."

Those numbers and his strong leg earned Kutch a spot in an all-star game for North Florida players that was held just before Christmas in Pensacola and the kicker notes that he really enjoyed the experience.

"It was actually pretty neat," says Kutch, who also punted for an average of 43.5 yards as a senior. "It was the first time there had ever been in one of those in our area. It was good to go out there and see all of the talent that is actually in this area. It is good to be out there playing with a lot of kids who didn't take a play off. They just went out there and played the whole game and it was fun. I had three punts and two kickoffs in the game.

Kutch, who was able to make it up to Auburn on three unofficial visits for football games this season and a one day football camp during the summer, says that Auburn is exactly the kind of place he was looking for.

"It just felt like home," he explains. "I come from a small town here where I am at and I am not too excited about the whole big city thing. Also, I like the tradition they have up there and how the people are just so friendly and everyone supports their team no matter what."

Even though he has already been a visitor to the Plains this fall, the kicker says that he is excited about his only official visit, which will be this weekend.

"Just getting to know some of the players and hanging out with them and see what it is like to be an Auburn Tiger, I guess," Kutch notes about what he is interested in doing while his is in town. "Just getting to see what they do and getting to talk with them a little bit an see a little more of the campus."

Like most players and fans, Kutch says that he was certainly in awe of what the 2004 Tigers were able to accomplish on the field. However, he adds that it was the character of the team that was truly inspiring. "That was real impressive, but what impressed me the most was just the class of the players and how they acted on the field," he notes. "You watch most of these big colleges games and when most teams score a touchdown they all go crazy in the end zone and when an Auburn player scored a touchdown it was not a big deal. It was what they were supposed to do and they didn't make a big issue of it.

"Then, what impressed me also was when I was at the Auburn games, just after the games how the players would walk out and they would just talk to everybody," Kutch adds. "It was the same with the coaches, they were walking right down the middle of the road and that just really caught my attention how they are level headed. They are extremely talented and they are just down there with everybody else and they don't put themselves on a pedestal."

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