Walk-on an Early Contributor for Tigers

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles at AUTigers.com featuring walk-on members of the 2008 Auburn football team.

Auburn, Ala.--After an eventful freshman year on the Auburn campus, Morgan Hull heads into his second season as a college football player firmly established in the classroom and number two on the depth chart at placekicker.

Even though he is a kicker and even though he is a walk-on, the 6-2, 189-pounder from Austin High in Decatur does the same demanding year-round workouts that the linebackers, running backs and other players take part in with strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall and his staff.

Last season when Wes Byrum was injured making a tackle in the opening game and backup kicker Zach Kutch struggled, Hull was sent out on the field to take a shot as the kickoff specialist. It was obvious he needed some work, but he played in four other games as Byrum recovered from his injury and showed enough leg strength in practice and games for the coaches to have faith in his ability to get the job done.

Hull notes that he didn't go into his freshman season with the expectation of seeing game action for the Tigers in 2007. "I was very surprised that I played," Hull says. "Tryouts were the first day of school and I figured it was sort of a longshot. I ended up making it and they wanted me to work on kickoffs.

"Getting hurt a couple of days into practice, I had only been with the team for about 10 practices before the first game," he recalls. "Wes rolled his ankle on the kickoff or something and they just tossed me out there. It was almost a deer in the headlights situation. Here I am, barely an 18-year-old freshman, and I am out there in the middle of Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was an interesting experience to say the least."

Hull improved in the spring and it won't be surprising if he kicks off some in games again this fall. He is also the number two field goal kicker. His longest made field goal in high school was 53 yards and has shown that range in practice at Auburn as the likely backup to Byrum, an SEC All-Freshman performer last year.

Commenting on his background in the game, Hull says, "I played football for four years in high school. I played tight end and defensive end my ninth grade year and got into kicking my sophomore year through my senior year. I played soccer for four years in high school."

Hull notes that he had athletic scholarship offers from "smaller schools" as well as academic scholarship offers, but decided to attend Auburn to take advantage of AU's strong pre-med curriculum and give big-time college football a shot. A 4.0 student, he says he is enjoying the challenge.

"I work out five days a week and practice three days a week," he says. He also participated in the redshirt workouts last fall even though he played in five games. "Those redshirt workouts were very interesting," he says with a smile. "Kickers in high school, they don't put us through too much. Going through that right off the bat after you get here, that really opens your eyes to college football.

"I found it is more mental than anything," Hull adds. "I just focused on the next rep and getting through it. It was a long 10 or 12 weeks during the season."

Hull notes that he is glad he decided to give college football a try and head coach Tommy Tuberville says the walk-on is doing a good job.

"I wasn't a preferred walk-on when I got to Auburn, but I planned to try out for the team," Hull says. "Right now I am mainly working on my kickoffs. I am trying to get better and work my way up the depth chart."

Hull and the Tigers will return to the practice field on August 2nd to begin preparations for the August 30th home opener vs. Louisiana-Monroe.

Clayton Crofoot

Clinton Durst

Charles Olatunji

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