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Countdown to kickoff: Is 2016 going to be Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson’s farewell tour?

Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson smiles at the program's annual Fan Day on Sunday, August 14, 2016.
Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson smiles at the program's annual Fan Day on Sunday, August 14, 2016. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Editor’s note: T-minus 15 days and counting until Auburn opens the season against Clemson on Sept. 3 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Check back every morning as we break down the roster, profile key players and look at unanswered questions coming out of training camp.

Tampa Bay’s selection of Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft with the 59th overall pick didn’t go unnoticed on the Plains.

With a third-round draft projection, Aguayo decided to forgo his senior season.

The Buccaneers traded up to take last year’s Lou Groza Award winner worried he might not fall to them in the third round (74th pick). Aguayo was the highest kicker drafted since 2005 and ninth kicker taken in the first two rounds.

Carlson might not end up with quite the same resume as Aguayo did a year ago — Aguayo finished his career with the third best kicking percentage in FBS history — but Auburn’s kicker could easily find himself with a mid-round draft grade.

The added wrinkle to Carlson’s situation is the high-profile recruit Auburn has coming in next year, a recruit who happens to the junior’s younger brother Anders Carlson.

Does Daniel want an opportunity to play on the same team as his younger brother? Or could he leave early to give his brother a shot at starting as a freshman?

"There's always a possibility," Carlson said of leaving early. "That's something I'd have to think about after the season, but for now, I'm just completely focused on the season. If I don't have the season I want this year, there's no point in even thinking about that right now. So that's kind of how I'm looking at it."

Carlson is trying not to worry about his future as he deals with the added pressure of being a Lou Groza runner-up.

“I think there’s definitely expectations, but me personally I’ve always been kind of a perfectionist,” Carlson said. “Either way a missed kick is going to bother me. Hopefully I can be perfect as long as I can.”

Extra-point: What school records will Daniel Carlson set next year?

Carlson will be competing with himself to break Auburn’s single season record for field goals made. The Colorado native’s 23 field goals last year beat the record Scott Etheridge set in 1992 with 22 field goals.

The number should be in reach for Carlson if Auburn struggles on offense continue this fall.

Carlson could also get a chance or two this fall to set the record for longest field goal made. Philip Yost (2003) and Neil O’Donoghue (1976) currently share the record each having hit a 57-yarder.

"I think 60 and in is something I would feel comfortable with and I think that is something we've decided with coach (Gus) Malzahn," Carlson said.

Carlson will also have a legitimate shot at setting Auburn’s career mark for field goals made if he puts up similar numbers as he did as an underclassman.

Wes Byrum is the current record holder with 60 field goals made from 2007-10. Carlson has 41 field goals in two seasons with a career field goal percentage of .804 (41 of 51).

Stat of the day

Carlson led all of college football last year with four field goals of 50 yards or more.

As impressive as the number seemed it was a long ways away from the record setting eight field goals Tennessee’s Fuad Reveiz hit in 1982. Reveiz went on to have a 10-year career in the NFL, which including a Pro Bowl appearance as a member of the Minnesota Vikings in 1994.

Carlson has five kicks from the distance in his career, but he isn’t close to sniffing the career record holder in the category either. Former Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson hit 20 field goals from 50 yards or more at Washington (1988-91).

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