A Berry Big Lineman Explains His College Pick

Comments from Auburn verbal commitment Mike Berry are featured.

Brentwood, Tenn.--Auburn's latest verbal football commitment, offensive lineman Mike Berry, says that having the opportunity to play for offensive line coach Hugh Nall played a major role in his decision to commit to the Tigers.

"Coach Nall was a big part of it," the 6-4, 300-pounder from Brentwood Academy says.

Berry got a preview of Nall's coaching technique as a summer football camp visitor at Auburn, where Berry was a standout performer among the the large group of campers at AU.

Nall made the trip to the Nashville suburb on Wednesday to make a final recruiting visit with Berry, who had planned to make his decision early next week. Later that evening South Carolina sent three coaches to meet with the big lineman, including head coach Steve Spurrier.

Berry will be following former Brentwood Academy stars to Auburn such as fullback Jake Slaughter, kicker John Vaughn, punter Kody Bliss and offensive lineman Taylor Bourgeois. All were starters for the Tigers this past season except for Bourgeois, who had to give up football due to an injury, but stayed at AU to finish his degree. Bliss and Vaughn will be back in 2006 as fifth-year seniors.

"Having those guys playing there helped Auburn," says Berry, who adds, "but it was also a reason why I was looking at South Carolina so hard. I kind of wanted to do something different, but I just couldn't find a negative about attending Auburn."

Berry says his GPA at Brentwood Academy is just under honor student status and notes he plans to major in international business at Auburn

He visited Auburn Dec. 16th, a week after checking out the hometown Vanderbilt Commodores. He wrapped up his official visits last weekend with a trip to Columbia, S.C., to see the Gamecocks.

He notes that he didn't make a decision on his college choice until Friday. "I thought about it a lot last night and talked to my parents and it came to me this morning," he says, noting that he called Auburn coach Hugh Nall to give him the news.

Berry also notes that he talked about the decision for the past couple of weeks with his highly regarded head coach, Carlton Flatt, to "get his input on it."

The big lineman normally competes in wrestling after football season, but says he is going to concentrate on preparations for his freshman year at Auburn.

"I am going to focus on lifting weights and getting stronger," Berry says. "I maxed out at the end of football and I was about 395 or 400 on bench."

If he makes an anticipated move to center at Auburn, it will be a new position for the big lineman. "I played a little guard, but mostly tackle throughout high school," says Berry, who notes that he is excited about the opportunity to play center if that is where he lines up in college.

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