Every Monday and Thursday, Plainsman sports staffers Zach Tantillo and Nathan King will analyze an Auburn football player who has a chance to make a sizable impact on the team next season.
Today’s Fortune Teller focuses on Anders Carlson, the younger brother of SEC all-time leading scorer Daniel and heir to the illustrious Auburn kicking throne.
We’ve seen this guy somewhere before.
At 6-foot-5, Auburn placekicker Anders Carlson looked nearly identical to his brother when the navy and orange uniform went on for the first time at the Tigers’ 2018 spring game. And when the littler Legatron lined up for his first field goal with three minutes left in the first quarter, something else stood out as familiar too.
We’ve definitely seen that leg before.
Carlson connected on four field goals on his way to earning Special Teams MVP, including a 53-yarder — 3 yards shy of Daniel’s career-long kick against Louisville in 2015. But Daniel has already seen his redshirt freshman brother crush that mark in spring practice.
On March 31, Anders connected on a 63-yard kick in a spring scrimmage inside Jordan-Hare Stadium, according to Gus Malzahn, who said the field goal would have been good from close to 70 yards. Albeit a dead-ball play, the kick wowed Carlson’s teammates, coaches and spectators, including Daniel, who saw it all from the sideline.
"He got to enjoy it," Anders said. "It was alumni day, so he's right in his new role."
“He’s got all the potential in the world,” Daniel Carlson said before the 2018 Peach Bowl. “I’ve been trying to look back and think of how I was kicking at that age and when I just came in and compare it. It’s hard to say, but I think he’s definitely right up there, maybe even better.
Redshirt freshman kicker Anders Carlson knocking it through from 50-plus. pic.twitter.com/Pv5wCwzXgU— Nathan King (@nathankingdra) March 6, 2018
“I’m excited to watch him succeed. He’s a great kicker. He’s probably going to have a lot of pressure riding on him … I think he’ll do a great job. He’s a great competitor and a hard worker. I think he’ll be very successful.”
Just as unconsciously booting through 60-yarders is a Carlson family tradition, dominant placekicking has been an unswerving trend on The Plains.
The nation’s top kicker in the 2017 class will look to continue the legacy of Auburn’s recently absurd placekicking units. Since 2007 — Wes Byrum’s first year as the Tigers’ kicker — Auburn’s field goal specialists are 174 of 225 (77 percent, best mark in the SEC over that span) on 3-pointers with four Lou Groza Award semifinalist finishes.
So, naturally, Anders feels no pressure continuing the legacy of Byrum, Cody Parkey and his brother, all current NFL kickers and a few of the best in college football history.
“Personally, I feel comfortable right now,” Anders said. “But we just got to keep working every day,” As a group, I feel like we are ready right now.”
2018's A-Day spring game was played under muggy, wet and windy conditions, and Carlson still succeeded. After a consistent spring camp as special teams' No. 1 threat, the Colorado Springs, Colorado, product can continue to buff out imperfections and work on timing with snapper Bill Taylor and holder Ian Shannon in the summer before seeing his first college football action against Washington in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, an indoor dome.
Carlson will be out to avenge his brother's three-year Lou Groza Award snub, and will begin that quest with an indoor game followed by four straight home outings — a dream scenario for a freshman kicker settling in. And after a year training under "Legatron," there's no reason to believe Carlson won't be chasing his brother's SEC scoring crown as well.