AU's Focus On Special Teams Huge For Carlson

Auburn commitment Daniel Carlson discusses the Tigers, coaching staff, learning from Cody Parkey, and much more.

Colorado Springs, Col.—Auburn's emphasis on special teams has been apparent since the first day that Coach Gene Chizik and his staff hit the field on the Plains. Striving for excellence in that area, the Tigers have worked hard to make that area a strong point in the last three years.

That's one of the reasons that talented kicker Daniel Carlson made his decision to commit to Auburn after spending time with Chizik and special teams coach Jay Boulware on two different trips to the Plains this year. A talented prospect that chose Auburn over several more schools, Carlson said in the end Auburn's emphasis on the kicking game spoke volumes to him.

"That's by far one of the biggest advantages of going to Auburn," Carlson said. "Not only is their head coach, Coach Chizik, heavily involved in special teams, but Coach Boulware knows a ton about kicking. He puts in time with his kickers on the field at practice and in the film room.

"He's going to be a great coach, I can already tell. He's just going to be helping me a ton and pushing me to do my best. I'm really blessed to have that. I just want to get better every day and I think Auburn is going to provide that for me."

Chizik's focus on special teams was shown two years ago when the Tigers signed both Cody Parkey and Steven Clark even though Wes Byrum and Ryan Shoemaker still had one season of eligibility left for Auburn. Wanting the kickers to learn the ropes under a veteran before getting the job handed over to them is one of the things that Carlson said attracted to him about Auburn right now.

"I'm excited about that," Carlson said. "I'll still be young so that will give me a lot to work on. Having a year to learn with him and work with him and just get the whole experience of playing SEC and Auburn football is going to be great. Hopefully I'll get some playing time my freshman year. It's going to be great to be able to learn and pick up things from someone and then hopefully excel myself after that."

Just like they did with Parkey and Clark, Auburn has commitments from a pair of special teams stars this time around as well as Carlson will be joined by punter Jimmy Hutchinson to form what Chizik hopes is a solid duo for the Tigers for years to come. Carlson said he's pumped about having a guy he knows well as part of the special teams at Auburn while he's on campus.

"I think it's going to be great," Carlson said. "I know Jimmy is going to be great. I have seen him kick before. Hopefully we can have a huge impact on the team and be leaders for special teams. We just want to help out whenever we can and put some points on the board and create field position. Hopefully we'll have a great impact on the team. I think it's going to be great for both of us."

Growing up in a family that was mostly Alabama fans, Carlson said while some people might think it would be tough to change that mindset he has seen things shift in a hurry towards the orange and blue of Auburn.

"Both my parents are saying it as well as my grandparents," Carlson said. "They have been very supportive of me from the beginning. They are all excited. I'll be close by my family so that will be nice. They can come out to games. We're all very excited about everything."

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