AU Walk-on Named SEC Player of the Week

AU's special teams coach says he has a reason to be pleased with a new addition to the Auburn football team.

Birmingham, Ala.--Auburn walk-on punter Patrick Tatum has been named the Southeastern Conference's Special Teams Player of the Week.

Tatum, who is from Sylvania, Ala., joined the team this summer as an invited walk-on. With an elbow injury to starter Ryan Shoemaker, Tatum has filled in admirably and is averaging 42 yards on his 11 punts.

In Auburn's 55-20 victory over New Mexico State, he averaged 45.5 yards. All four punts went inside the 20-yard line and none were returned. The Aggies had an average starting field position at the 12-yard line after those punts that included his season's best of 50 yards.

Seven of his 11 punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line with two at the one-yard line.

Special teams coach Eddie Gran says he is pleased with what he saw from the punting game on Saturday night that included a 62-yard punt from redshirt freshman Ryan Shoemaker, who made his comeback in the fourth quarter after rehabbing from a dislocated elbow.

"We had a 44-yard net with no returns so I thought he (Patrick) did a great job," says Gran, who adds that having two punters doing well is a "great situation."

"Shoemaker is our starting punter," Gran says. "To have two punters like that, you are blessed."

Because of Tatum's success at downing punts close to the goal, Gran says the Tigers may consider to continue to use Tatum when trying to pin opponents near the goal line. "So far he has done a heck of a job doing that," Gran points out.

Tatum also got into rushing statistics on Saturday night as he ran nine yards for a first down on a punt fake.

He is the second Auburn player honored by the SEC this season. Senior Quentin Groves was named defensive lineman of the week for his play in the opener vs. Kansas State.

Tatum and the Tigers will return to action with a 7 p.m. CDT SEC road game at Florida on Saturday night as AU tries to end UF's 11-game winning streak. Gator QB Tim Tebow was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week as Florida defeated Ole Miss 30-24 at Oxford.

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