Avery Atkins (American football placekicker)
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|LSU Tigers – No. 32|
|High school||Auburn High School, Auburn, Alabama|
|Born:||June 11, 1999|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||214 lb (97 kg)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jack "Avery" Atkins (born June 11, 1999) is an American football placekicker currently playing for the Louisiana State University Tigers football program. Atkins serves as the Tigers' kickoff specialist.
An alumnus of Auburn High School in Auburn, Alabama, Atkins’ high school football career set the pace for his college-level success to come. Earning three letters in football for positions as safety, kicker and punter, Atkins garnered several accolades that led to his status as one of the top high school kickers in the country. During his junior year in 2016, Atkins earned all-state honors as the team's safety. That year, he was also the X-Factor Athlete, according to the Opelika-Auburn News. In his senior year in 2017, Atkins served as team captain. That year, he helped lead his team to a 10-2 record. Also in 2017, Atkins was a member of the 2017 Alabama Sports Writers Association 7A All-State Team. Other high school accolades include Atkins being named a four-star prospect by Kohl’s Kicking Professional Camps and a two-time Athlete of the Week via The Auburn Villager newspaper (once in 2016 and once in 2018).
In addition to football, Atkins also made a name for himself at Auburn High School on the soccer field. Playing center forward, Atkins was a five-time letterman on his high school men's soccer team, setting a school record with 27 goals during his senior season in 2018. Also in 2018, Auburn High School earned a winning spot in the 7A Alabama State Soccer Championship. Atkins' soccer accolades include being named Varsity Soccer MVP in both 2016 and 2019 and Clutch Player of the Year in 2014 and 2015.
Coming off the heels of high school success, Atkins started his true freshman season at LSU in 2018. During this time, Atkins would prove himself to be one of the country’s top talents in terms of kickoff specialists. Serving as the starting kicker, Atkins went on to experience a record-setting season. This includes setting LSU’s school record for touchbacks, as well as his own career record with eight touchbacks (out of nine kickoffs) in the 2018 LSU game against the University of Georgia Bulldogs. In total, 71 of Atkins’ 79 kicks during his freshman season went for touchbacks. This ranked LSU at number five in the nation for touchbacks. Atkins’ efforts led to LSU ranking number three in the nation for kickoff returns allowed (6) and number one for fewest kickoff return yards allowed (126). By the end of the 2018 season, Atkins led the country with a 91.4 percent touchback rate, solidifying his status as one of the nation’s best college placekickers.
Atkins continued his record-setting trend into his sophomore season at LSU in 2019. Records include being number one nationally in total kickoffs, with 131 across 15 games played. He led the NCAA in touchback percentage, with 110 of his 131 kickoffs going for touchbacks. Career record highs in 2019 included 11 touchbacks in games vs. Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Northwestern State University. Atkins helped LSU rank number 12 in the nation for kickoff returns allowed that year (15), as well as number 18 for total allowed kickoff return yardage with 337 yards. In 2019 under Atkins’ influence, LSU won its fourth national championship with a 15-0 season.
Atkins’ parents are Jack and Nikki Atkins. He has one sister, Taylor Ann, who is an ICU nurse. Atkins’ grandfather, George Atkins, was an offensive line coach at Auburn from 1956 to 1971, coaching with the legendary Auburn coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan. His grandmother, Leah Rawls Atkins, was once a world champion water skier, becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
In addition to the preferred walk-on offer from LSU that he ultimately accepted, Atkins received offers from competing Southeastern Conference school Auburn University, Ivy League institutions Yale University and Harvard University, and others, including a scholarship offer from West Point. Atkins cited special teams coach Greg McMahon, head coach Ed Orgeron, and assistant athletics director Sam Nader, along with a desire to play for an SEC football team, as his primary motivations for choosing LSU.
Atkins is pursuing a degree in kinesiology at LSU. His hobbies and interests include church activities, skiing, boating, traveling, reading and working with children. He was elected co-president of the LSU Student Athletes Advisory Council in 2020. He attended the SEC Football leadership conference January 2020 as an LSU football representative and member of the SEC Football Leadership Council.
- "LSU 2020 Football Roster: Avery Atkins". LSU Tigers Athletics.
- Embody, Billy. "LSU players that could play both ways if rosters are shortened". 247Sports.com.
- Hill, Jordan. "Auburn High's Avery Atkins excels as LSU's kickoff specialist". OANow.com. Opelika-Auburn News.
- "Avery Atkins - 2020 - Football - LSU Tigers". LSUSports.net.
- Woodham, Brian. "Athlete of the Week: Avery Atkins". The Auburn Villager.
- Woodham, Brian. "AHS Athlete of the Week: Avery Atkins". The Auburn Villager.
- Kubena, Brooks. "How LSU's kickoff specialist blasted his way to the big stage and is 'opening a lot of eyes'". The Advocate.
- Shipp, Sonny. "Watch: Avery Atkins highlights". 247Sports.com.
- Hill, Jordan. "Auburn High's Avery Atkins excels as LSU's kickoff specialist". OANow.com. The Opelika-Auburn News.
- Doucet, Jacques. "LSU focuses on kickoffs with Avery Atkins but works with him on field goals as well". Fox8Live.com. WVUE-DT.
- Rabalais, Scott. "Avery Atkins' kickoff style is all wrong but oh so right for LSU". The Advocate.
- West, Glen. "2020 LSU Football Position Breakdown Part 10: Special Teams". Sports Illustrated.
- Hill, Jordan. "Auburn High's Avery Atkins set for another big year at LSU". Opelika-Auburn News.
- Embody, Billy. "John Emery, others emerge as kick return options for LSU". 247Sports.com.
- "LSU plans to bounce back to other end of sandwich at Auburn after 'flat' effort vs. Lions". USA Today.
- Dabe, Christopher. "LSU adds 4-star kicker Avery Atkins as preferred walk-on". NOLA.com. The Times-Picayune. Unknown parameter
- Adam, Brandon. "'He's freakish': Auburn native Avery Atkins finds unexpected home at LSU as kickoff specialist". The Reveille - LSUReveille.com.
- "VIPS Super Summer Readers - Avery Atkins, LSU Football reads Splat the Cat and the Late Library Book". YouTube: VIPSBatonRouge. Volunteers In Public Schools. Unknown parameter
- Chamberlain, Chelsey. "Tiger Life Announces SAAC Members for 2020-21". LSU Tigers Athletics. Unknown parameter
- "Taylor Named to SEC Football Leadership Council". WVLT 8.
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