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July 1, 2012- - The nation's No. 4 kicker, Daniel Carlson, told AuburnSports.com on Wednesday he would make his decision by July 4 and that his decision would likely be for Auburn unless something changed.
It appears nothing changed, as Carlson committed to Gene Chizik and the Tigers on Sunday. The pledge gave Auburn their 14th commitment in the 2013 recruiting class.
"It feels great. I feel really blessed to be in this position," said Carlson. "It still hasn't completely hit me that I'm going to Auburn and I will be able to play major college football. That is extremely exciting. I'm really happy about my decision.
"I've been praying about it a lot and I am definitely sure Auburn is the best place for me. There are so many things about Auburn that I like. They are a great football team. They have such a great special teams program. I hopefully will be able to take my game to the next level after college and Auburn is where I need to go to get prepared for that."
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Carlson chose Auburn over offers from Air Force, California and LSU. He was recruited to Auburn by special teams coach Jay Boulware.
"I think Coach Boulware is one of the most knowledgeable special teams coaches, especially for kicking," Carlson said. "He really works hard in the film room with his players and is always pushing them to be their best. I'm really looking forward to working with him.
"With Coach Boulware at Auburn, I think I am going to be at a major advantage, getting coaching like that from him."
The Colorado Springs, Colo. native joins the nation's No. 1 combo kicker Jimmy Hutchinson as part of Auburn's class. Hutchinson is primarily a punting prospect while Carlson is primarily a kicking prospect. Carlson is ranked the nation's top pure kicking prospect by Kohl's Kicking Academy.
"Jimmy and I have gotten to know each other and he is great at what he does," said Carlson. "I think he is the No. 1 punter in this class, hands down. I'm really excited that we are ending up at the same place and hopefully have a big impact. I think it will be great to already know someone at Auburn when I go down there. He's a good guy and I'm looking forward to playing with him at Auburn."
Carlson has a soccer background and has handled kickoff, place kicking and punting duties for Classical Academy since his freshman season.
Carlson enjoyed a solid sophomore season with 33 extra points, four field goals and 24 touchbacks on 32 kickoffs. With his team suffering through a 2-8 season last year Carlson's scoring opportunities diminished with 16 extra points, four field goals (long of 49), 16 touchbacks on 22 kickoffs and a 41-yard punting average that included a long of 71 yards.
Following his commitment to Auburn on Sunday, Carlson said he feels very confident in his decision.
"I feel like Auburn is where I want to go and where God wants me to go," said Carlson. "I'm not having any second thoughts about it. I've talked to my parents about it and they just wanted me to be happy, and I am."