News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Austin grad Hull making noise at AU

By Ross Dellenger 340-2462

AUBURN — Decatur native Morgan Hull, who walked on to the team this week, says he and starting kicker Wes Byrum are running "neck and neck" when kicking off during practice.

"It's fun to just get out there and compete," Hull said Friday night.

A Decatur Daily all-area and all-state selection, Hull is competing with Byrum to be the team's kickoff specialist.

Coaches announced last week that Byrum won the kickoff and field-goal kicking jobs over a host of players.

But coach Tommy Tuberville would like a different player to kick off, allowing Byrum to focus on extra points and field goals.

So far, the coach has been impressed with the strength of Hull's leg.

"He's got a strong leg," Tuberville said. "The ball sounds pretty good coming off his foot."

When asked if Hull's kicks were reaching those of Byrum, Tuberville said: "Oh, yeah. He's getting them in the end zone."

Hull showcased his kicking talents for Tuberville and other assistants last week. The freshman impressed coaches so much that shortly after the trials, walk-on coordinator Andy Lutz told Hull he was part of the team.

"He's got a lot of potential," Tuberville said. "Is he going to do it? I don't know. We'll wait and see."

Hull, who is on academic scholarship at Auburn, wasn't invited to practice during two-a-days because the team had reached its player limit. The NCAA allows only 105 players to practice during that time. But once two-a-days ends, the team is able to add 15 more players, reaching the 120 threshold. Hull took one of those open spots and began practicing this week.

"He's giving me some competition," Byrum said. "He's got a leg, so it will push me to do better."

During his senior year at Austin High, Hull made 14 of 16 field goals, including a long of 53 yards. Tuberville said Hull is not kicking field goals, but he and Byrum are the only two players kicking off during practice.

Hull had athletic scholarship offers from a host of schools, including Arkansas and Ole Miss, but he badly wanted to attend Auburn.

"Since this was where I wanted to go to school, I wasn't going to settle for playing ball somewhere else where I didn't want to be," he said.

Matt Clark, Auburn's kickoff specialist who graduated last season, walked on to the team in 2005.

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