One of LSU football’s recent traditions has been the awarding of the No. 18 jersey to a player who the team feels displays a selfless attitude and embodies what it means to be an LSU Tiger.
This year, a player Auburn High fans remember quite well has been given this honor.
Auburn High alum Avery Atkins has been selected as one of two Tigers to wear No. 18 during his senior season at LSU. The recognition is a special one for Atkins, who has handled kickoff duties for the Tigers the past three seasons and will do so again this fall.
The new jersey number is another big preseason accomplishment for Atkins, who was given LSU’s Male Leadership Award on Aug. 22.
Atkins was asked about his work ethic in a video LSU released announcing his new number.
“I just think I owe that to my family. They've set me up to be where I am today,” Atkins said. “I just don't want to let them down, so I come out here every day – we all come out here every day – just to represent our families and do the best we can to honor them.
“We can win, and we're going to win.”
Atkins has made the most of his time in Baton Rouge since initially walking on with the Tigers in 2018.
Atkins is the program’s all-time leader in kickoffs (270), kickoff yards (16,991) and touchbacks (227). He is also a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Atkins enters his senior season at LSU after handling kickoff duties for the Tigers for the third straight season in 2020. He once again was one of the nation’s leaders in kickoff percentage thanks to hitting touchbacks on 46 of his 60 kickoffs last fall. Atkins only had one of those kicks land out of bounds.
Atkins will also serve as the Tigers’ holder for kicker Cade York this season.
Atkins made a name for himself at Auburn High thanks to his excellent ability on special teams as well as on defense. He recorded 62 tackles, forced one fumble, recovered another and had two interceptions in his senior season at Auburn High and earned first team All-State honors for his play.
Atkins was also a star soccer player in high school and helped Auburn win the state championship in his senior season.
Atkins joins a special fraternity of LSU players who have worn No. 18. The list includes former national title-winning quarterback Matt Mauck, tight end Foster Moreau and linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson.