Auburn High alum Avery Atkins has excelled during his football career at LSU, which included being a kickoff specialist for the Tigers’ national title team in 2019.
That success also goes beyond what he’s done on the field, and it led to a big honor on Sunday.
Atkins was given the Male Leadership Award as part of the Tiger Athletic Foundation’s Mikey’s Award ceremony, an annual event in which winners are voted on by LSU student-athletes.
“Truly an honor,” Atkins wrote on social media after the award was announced.
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 was a true weapon for LSU as part of a 2019 season that neither he nor the Tigers will ever forget. He had 110 touchbacks on an FBS-leading 131 kickoffs — a near-84 percent touchback percentage.
Atkins’ impressive efforts on special teams came in a season that was nothing short of unforgettable for LSU, which went 15-0 and captured the fourth national championship in program history.
“It was definitely an awesome experience. There are a lot of words that could describe it. Getting to be a part of a team like that, getting to go where we did, break the records we did was just really fun,” Atkins told the O-A News in July 2020. “It was nerve-wracking at times because we knew we had a lot on the table, but overall it was so much fun. It was an amazing experience, and hopefully we’ll get to experience it again real soon.”
Atkins entered 2019 after an outstanding freshman season in which nearly 90 percent of his kickoffs were touchbacks.
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 will have some extra duties for LSU this season. In addition to his kickoff role, Atkins will also be the holder for place-kicker Cade York, who was named an All-American by the Associated Press on Monday.
Atkins and the Tigers open the season at UCLA on Sept. 4.