Kicker Says Visit "Incredible"

Alabama's top kicking prospect took an official visit to Auburn over the weekend and says he's getting closer to making a decision.

Birmingham, Ala.—-The top kicker in Alabama took a visit to check out the Auburn program over the weekend and left with a very favorable opinion on the Tigers. Oak Mountain High's Ryan Shoemaker says that following his visit to the Plains Auburn is very high on his list.

"Overall it was a lot better than I expected," Shoemaker tells Inside The Auburn Tigers about his visit. "It was incredible. The team unity here is awesome. I got to meet with a lot of the guys. Chas Crofoot is awesome. He was my host and showed me a great time.

"We hung out with all of the guys," he adds. "We went to Brandon's (Brandon Cox) house last night and hung out over there. The team unity of the players down here is incredible. It was an excellent visit."

Shoemaker says he really enjoyed his visit to Auburn and liked everything about the trip.

In town on a weekend when the Auburn students have already left for the Christmas holidays, some might assume that would be a negative for the Tigers, but not for Shoemaker. He says the weekend gave the recruits a chance to see what football life is all about at Auburn from practices to meetings to hanging out at the end of the day.

"You get to experience more of the players and the player life," Shoemaker says. "You get a lot more questions answered. It's incredible. That was a plus over there.

"I liked the practice over there a lot. The way it was scheduled, how much special teams in emphasized over here, it was really cool to watch how things are so different at Auburn. Coach (Tommy) Tuberville has a lot to do with it. He emphasizes special teams a lot. He's a big special teams guy. It was great."

A three-year starter for the Eagles, Shoemaker has already visited Alabama and says that his decision will come down to the two in-state schools. Invited by both to walk on with the possibility of earning a scholarship, Shoemaker says he'll make his decision in January after in-home visits from both coaching staffs. He notes that the visit definitely has Auburn on his mind following the weekend.

"It was definitely on the high end because I got a lot out of the visit," Shoemaker says when asked to rate his visit. "I have pretty much decided to not do any more visits. Auburn and Alabama were going to be my two. I have pretty much narrowed it down to Auburn and Bama. I'm going to announce on Jan. 6."

Shoemaker, who took an unofficial visit to Auburn to see the Tigers whip Alabama in the regular season finale, made 12-18 field goals as a senior, 38-39 PAT kicks and hit nearly 80 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone. He averaged 39.5 yards as a senior with good hang time after averaging 42.5 as a junior. Oak Mountain finished the year 10-4, the best record in school history. They lost to eventual state champion Hoover in the 6A semi-finals.

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