Tigers Add 17th Football Commitment for 2007

Tommy Tuberville and his coaching staff continue to be very busy on the recruiting front.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.--Auburn has picked up its 17th football verbal commitment for the 2006 signee class with Charles Byrum of St. Thomas Aquinas being the latest to choose the Tigers.

The kicker, who goes by the nickname of "Wes," is known for having an exceptionally strong leg. His kicking coach, Mike McCabe, says the high school senior is a great pickup for the Tigers.

"I really believe he is going to be a great kicker for Auburn," McCabe says. "I know Coach (Tommy) Tuberville and their staff are excited about his ability. This kid already has a tremendous leg and he is a big, athletic kicker who is going to continue to improve. His leg is just huge."

Byrum made his decision to be a Tiger on his official visit to the Auburn campus this weekend. He flew in with his mother and stepfather after his St. Thomas Aquinas team improved its record to 4-0 on Thursday night.

His stepfather, Richard Mallion, notes that Wes was leaning to the Tigers before taking the trip. The official visit, the kicker's first visit to the Auburn campus, convinced him that he wants to play for Tuberville's team.

"I am looking forward to going to Auburn," Byrum says. "It is a great football program. I like the school and I like the coaches. It's a place I want to make my home for the next four years."

Commenting on what he likes about Auburn, he says, "First of all, it's the number two team in the country and hopefully it will be number one. I really like the people in Auburn. The coaching staff is just great. The school is really good, too, so all-around it is just a great fit."

"I want to try to go into law so I met with one of the professors for an hour or hour and a half on Friday to go over the steps I need to take for that."

Byrum says Auburn offers a great opportunity with its starting kicker, John Vaughn, being a senior along with kickoff specialist, Matt Clark. "It is a good situation," the kicker says. "It is pretty amazing football at Auburn. It is a good conference. Actually, it is a great conference and Auburn is doing great. Academic-wise, it is a great program, too."

One of the big adjustments for high school kickers moving to the college ranks is learning to kick field goals and extra points off the ground. Byrum says it shouldn't be an issue for him because he has practiced that skill that he got to put on display at a kicking camp this summer.

"I hit a 62-yard field goal when I was at Colorado and I didn't use a tee," he says. Colorado was the first college to offer him a scholarship after that camp.

"I can kick off the ground, but I don't really practice much doing that because in high school you can use the block so you might as well use it for the extra advantage it gives you," Byrum says.

"When the season is over I will have a couple of months to work on kicking off the ground," he notes. "I don't think that is going to be a problem because I have played soccer my whole life. Every once in a while I practice off the ground and I do fine."

St. Thomas Aquinas has a tradition of sending kickers to colleges and Byrum has already put his name in the school record book when he was 11-11 on PAT kicks in game three this season. That broke a record originally set in 1978. He didn't try a field goal in that rout, but did have an interesting game.

"We have been practicing some short kickoffs by skying them and letting our kickoff team get down there and get them inside the 20," Byrum notes. "When we tried it in that game it worked well. On one of the kickoffs we got them at the 12, another we got them at around the six, another on the nine and another around in that area. When we kick it deep, I will get it into or out of the end zone. I am pretty sure I have hit two or three through the uprights."

Following a 45-7 victory on Thursday vs. Stoneman Douglas High during which he kicked a 34-yard field goal, Byrum is 3-3 on field goals this season and 23-23 on PAT kicks. He also was 2-2 on field goals in a preseason game vs. Carol City.

Byrum, who played in an Olympic development soccer program when he was younger, plays that sport in the spring for St. Thomas Aquinas. "I want to play soccer again this year, but I don't know how that is going to go with college football," he says.

The kicker is taking honors classes at St. Thomas Aquinas and is interested in majoring in pre-law with a minor in business. He can also punt if needed, but is the backup on his team for that assignment. He is expected to concentrate on place-kicking as a collegian.

Tallahassee, Fla.--Auburn added to its already large early list of football verbal commitments for 2007 on Thursday night with the announcement that defensive lineman Tim Lamb from Lincoln High School will be a Tiger.

A 6-0, 305-pound wrecking ball, Lamb had offers from dozens of colleges before deciding on Auburn. He is ranked as a three-star prospect by Scout.com.

"I had liked Auburn all along, but I really became interested in Auburn when I went there on an unofficial visit," he told Inside the Auburn Tigers.

"I was in Auburn for the Washington State game and it just felt like the right place to me," he said. "It felt like family. I really liked the atmosphere. I really liked the coaches, the players and the people I met."

With offers from Alabama, Miami, Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisville and dozens of other schools, Lamb had plenty of choices before deciding on Auburn. He announced for the Tigers live on ESPNU, a television network.

When asked who Auburn's main competition was, he told Inside the Auburn Tigers it was several colleges. "I seriously considered Alabama, Tennesseee, Illinois and Nebraska, but Auburn was the one that stood out to me."

One of Florida's higher ranked defensive tackle prospects, Lamb is an explosive defender and plays with good strength and leverage. As a junior he broke the school record, held by Florida and NFL standout Kevin Carter, with 31 tackles for losses. He had 58 total tackles, three caused fumbles, and four sacks during the 2005 season.

His head coach, Kyle Rice, said that Auburn is getting a powerful true noseguard. "We play a 5-2 front and he is very strong for us," the coach noted. "He is a guy who benches 450 pounds and plays extremely low for a 300 pounder. He causes a lot of problems for offensive teams.

"He had a great season and he is playing well again this year," the coach added. "He has been nicked up a little bit this year and teams are trying to run away from him, but he is still making plays for us."

Lamb, whose brother Xavier is also receiving recruiting attention from colleges, said that he is hoping to be able to make an early impact as a college player. He should have plenty of strength in both his upper body and lower body. In addition to his impressive bench press, he said he squats "about 550 pounds."

The defensive lineman also said the educational aspect of where he attends college is very important to him. "I plan to major in computer engineering," he said. "Auburn is a strong school academically and that played a part in my decision."

He will follow a 2006 Lincoln High star to Auburn, linebacker Craig Stevens, who has been a key contributor so far for the Tigers, who are ranked second and third nationally in the major polls this week.

Commenting on the big lineman, Rice said, "He is a real good kid, just like Craig Stevens. "He is a good person and a good athlete. He is so strong he just knocks centers into the quarterback."

Lamb becomes Auburn's 16th public verbal commitment joining tight ends Bailey Woods and Brent Slusher, defensive tackle Josh Chapman, linebackers Eltoro Freeman and Marshall Williams, defensive backs Daquan Bembry, Michael Slade, Jonnie Dixon, and Ryan Williams, fullback John Douglas and offensive linemen Ryan Pugh, Chaz Ramsey and Kyle Coulahan. Also included in Auburn's total are prep school standouts Bo Harris and Chris Slaughter, who will be re-signs from last season.

Both Harris and Slaughter are currently enrolled in prep schools. Harris is playing defensive end at Milford Academy in New York state. Slaughter is a wide receiver at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.

After having a large number of prospects in for last weekend's LSU at Auburn game, the Tigers are expected to have a small group of players in this weekend to check out the Buffalo at Auburn game on Saturday. However, there will be one official visit as kicker Charles "Wes" Byrum from St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will be there to check out the campus.

Byrum is the second Auburn commitment this week joining Tim Lamb, a noseguard from Lincoln High in Tallahassee, Fla.

Abuurn's other commitments include tight ends Bailey Woods and Brent Slusher, defensive tackle Josh Chapman, linebackers Eltoro Freeman and Marshall Williams, defensive backs Daquan Bembry, Michael Slade, Jonnie Dixon, and Ryan Williams, fullback John Douglas and offensive linemen Ryan Pugh, Chaz Ramsey and Kyle Coulahan. Also included in Auburn's total are prep school players Bo Harris and Chris Slaughter, who are scheduled to be re-signs from the 2006 class.

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