AUBURN, Ala. — Daniel Carlson will be a one-man band this fall.
The redshirt freshman won Auburn's four-way competition at punter, coach Gus Malzahn announced Saturday. In addition to his punting duties, Carlson will also handle the placekicking and kickoff duties.
"Daniel Carlson is going to punt for us. He's also going to place-kick for us. We do know that," Malzahn said. "As far as the No. 2 punter is concerned, we're still in a battle for that. We'll hopefully know something in the near future."
The last time the Tigers had the same player serve as the punter and placekicker was Damon Duval in 2002. Jaret Holmes also did both in back-to-back (1996-97) seasons.
Malzahn repeatedly stressed how impressed he's been with Carlson, heaping praise upon the Colorado native.
"He's very talented first of all, talented enough to win the job against some pretty good punters," the coach said. "We're going to have to do a good job of watching his leg, not just every game, but especially as the season wears on with trying to keep it fresh. But he's a very meticulous young man. He's a great competitor. I'm sure there will be some growing pains. We know that anytime you go with a redshirt freshman."
Of course, Malzahn said he reserves the right to make changes as he deems necessary.
"He's going to start the first game, and like any other position, you see how the season goes," Malzahn said. "Right now, he won the job and he's been very impressive."
Even before Malzahn announced that the competition was over, Carlson was feeling good about his prospects.
"I think there will be a good chance," he said earlier this week. " ... I've just got to keep working at it — watch my reps, take care of my legs and stay healthy. Obviously, I don't want to take anything away from field goal, and the coaches are big on that. I think I've done a good job of that and being smart with my leg while getting as much work as I can. I'm just trying to be the best at everything, basically. Hopefully I'll be able to get a shot and show it."
Carlson believes he also has one other factor working in his favor: He's used to a heavy workload.
"My junior and senior year I did all three after I stopped soccer," he said, referring to his final two seasons at The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. "Obviously, it's a whole new level here. But mentally, I've prepared for it. There are kickers at other schools that have done it successfully. Of course it's a little more rare, I guess, but I'm happy to take on the challenge. I'm excited about it. We'll see. I think I could be a really good punter if I continue to work on it. I'm kind of taller, built like a punter. If I can connect well, I can drop some bombs."