Punter/Kicker Makes His College Choice

Oak Mountain's Ryan Shoemaker is headed to the SEC to play his college football.

Birmingham, Ala.--Ryan Shoemaker, a three-year starter for Oak Mountain High School, said on Friday that he plans to attend college at Auburn.

The 6-0, 192-pounder, who took official visits to Auburn and Alabama, helped Oak Mountain to the best season in school history with a 10-4 mark as a punter, field goal kicker and kickoff man.

Shoemaker says that both the Tigers and Tide were offering a chance to earn a scholarship as an invited walk-on, but notes that when Tiger coach Tommy Tuberville offered him a scholarship that made it an easier choice.

"It was a very tough decision after talking to Coach Shula and Coach Tuberville," Shoemaker tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I was trying to rate the schools, with pluses and minuses in every area, and I couldn't find a minus in any area.

"It was a really tough decision and I had a couple of tough nights, but Coach Tuberville made it a lot easier," he says.

Shoemaker adds, "I love the Auburn program. I think it is going in the right direction and it is going to be on top for years to come. There is a great unity there and I am excited to be an Auburn Tiger."

He also had interest from Vanderbilt, Georgia and UAB, but narrowed his choices to the Tigers and Tide. He took official visits to both colleges.

Oak Mountain reached the Class 6A state semi-finals before losing to Daphne, which finished as the runnerup to Hoover.

Shoemaker says he is glad to get his decision behind him. "When I came back to school on Wednesday, everybody was driving me crazy asking me where I am going," he says.

As a senior, Shoemaker made 12-18 field goals with the longest a 48-yarder. He hit 38-39 extra points. His coach, Jerry Hood, estimates that 75 percent to 80 percent of Shoemaker's kickoffs were touchbacks.

"He did a really good job for us as both a kicker and a punter," Hood says. "He averaged 39.5 yards per punt, but could really boom the punts when he caught them and that would help us a great deal with field position." As a junior, Shoemaker's punting average was 42.5.

Ryan Shoemaker

Shoemaker got visits from Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville and Tide head coach Mike Shula visited to his home on Wednesday. "Both visits were really similar," he said. "They explained to me how I would fit into their program and I liked both opportunities at both schools.

"Having the head coaches from both those schools at your house on the same day is something that you don't see every day," he adds.

A student who is taking advanced level classes in high school, he says he is interested in majoring in pre-med in college and is also interested in physical therapy.

Scout.com recruiting analyst Scott Kennedy watched Shoemaker earlier this season and notes that the senior stood out. "He showed a very strong leg punting the ball," Kennedy says.

Shoemaker says spending nearly a week in Auburn in the summer camp really increased his interest in Auburn. "I had a great time there and I really liked the campus, the town and the people I met there."

Auburn's starting punter, Kody Bliss, and starter field goal specialist, John Vaughn, will be be seniors this fall.

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