When the SEC football season unofficially kicked off at Media Days, each school chose three of its highest-profile players to represent the team. While most schools went with skill position players or student-athletes who make a big impact on defense, Auburn went outside the box, choosing kicker Daniel Carlson to represent his school alongside offensive lineman Braden Smith and cornerback Tray Matthews.
This may seem like high praise for the senior kicker from Colorado Springs, Colorado, but Carlson has certainly earned it.
After struggling to live up to the hype early in the season—he missed two field goals in the season opener against Georgia Southern and missed a 26-yarder against Mercer—Carlson bounced back with three field goals against Missouri, including two from 50+ yards.
"I think it was more of him just pressing earlier in the season, like I talked about earlier," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. "[Carlson had] two 50-yarders that probably would've been good from 60. He's back."
Carlson’s 386 career points are a school record, and the senior has singlehandedly saved many games for the Tigers over the years.
In last year’s game against LSU, Carlson tied an Auburn and SEC record with six field goals as Auburn defeated the Tigers 18-13 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. He also made four field goals against Ole Miss and Alabama and three against Vanderbilt.
Carlson has also been versatile in his three years kicking at Auburn. In 2014, Carlson kicked in all 13 games and punted in 12 games, as he became the first Tiger specialist to do punting, placekicking and kickoffs since Damon Duval did it from 1999-2002.
In addition to his success on the field, Carlson has also proven himself in the classroom. He is a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and was named Academic Top Tiger in both 2014 and 2016. He graduated in August with a degree in business.