Football Prospect Plans Official Visit to AU

One of the country's top kickers talks about getting an offer from Auburn and where the Tigers stand.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.--With both John Vaughn and Matt Clark seniors this season the Auburn Tigers are looking for a player to take over one or both of their duties beginning next season. A candidate for that assignment is Charles Byrum from St. Thomas Aquinas School.

Ranked the nation's number 2 kicker prospect by, Byrum has been looking at Oklahoma, LSU, Florida and others, but quickly moved Auburn to the top of his list this week when an offer came in the mail.

"I was really surprised at first about the offer because I hadn't really spoke at all with Auburn," Byrum says. "I filled out their prospect information form and I sent that. Other than that I had not really had any contact with them. I spoke with my coaches and they were telling me that Auburn was interested and I would be getting an offer from them. All of the sudden I got an offer in the mail. It was exciting.

"They are now at the top of the list," he adds. "I wouldn't say I'm going to take my time (making a decision). It's not going to be an immediate thing, but it's not going to take too long. I'm just going to look at it."

Once things got rolling it didn't take long for Byrum to hear and learn more about the Tigers. Known as Wesley, the 6-3, 195 Byrum finally spoke to Auburn Coach Eddie Gran and also began to read up on Auburn and the football program. All of that information will be useful when he takes an official visit to the campus the weekend of the Buffalo game. He chose that game because his team plays on Thursday night and it will give him a chance to have more time on campus.

"I talked to Coach Gran four hours before the game on Saturday," Byrum says. "It was good, it was nice. He just asked me how my season was going and wanted to make sure everything was set up for my official visit.

"I have never been to Alabama and I don't know really anything about Auburn," he adds. "I have been on the internet on their website looking it up and I have an Auburn book that I have been flipping through and reading. I actually read some this morning."

Playing for one of the most tradition-rich schools in south Florida, Byrum backed up Michigan State signee Brett Swenson last season, but has kicking job to himself this year. The pressure hasn't seemed to bother him this season as he's a perfect 5-5 on extra points and has made all three field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards. He says that isn't even close to his range though as he's comfortable out to 60 yards and beyond.

"I have made a 65-yarder in practice before," Byrum says. "A couple of times I have made a 65 in practice. During spring football last year I hit two 62-yarders in front of everyone at the scrimmage. While we were practicing, when the offense and defense were down near the end zone I would come out and kick so the coaches could see me."

Also a talented punter, Byrum is currently the backup at that position for St. Thomas despite his talent. In May of this year he was named the overall punting/kicking/kickoff champion at a three-day Combine at Florida's Chaminade Madonna High School.

This season the Raiders are looking to get over the hump after losing in the state championship game two consecutive years to the Lakeland Dreadnaughts. Things are off to a good start as they whipped up on Cypress Bay 31-3 in the season opener. Things will get tougher this week as they go on the road to face a talented Cardinal Gibbons squad, but Byrum says this team is focused on continuing the tradition others have left behind.

"It's like at other high schools people play football and they're just playing football," Byrum says. "Here I feel like it's a mini-college. Everybody knows and they're serious. They're trying to get in the best school they can and get academics out of it."

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