There's nothing like representing your hometown on a national stage. That's exactly what Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas kicker Wes Byrum will get to do on Jan. 4 when he kicks for the East squad in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
"I was pretty excited when I first heard about it, and I'm honored to be selected," Byrum, one of the top kickers in the nation, said. "It'll be a great experience to play in a game like that. Not many people get to play in an All-American game, so I'm really excited and ready to show everybody what I can do.
Five facts about Wes Byrum
• Visited Auburn on Sept. 22 and committed the next day.
• His sports hero: Adam Vinatieri.
• Was recruited by Auburn assistant Eddie Gran.
• His favorite movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark
• Plans to major in law or business at Auburn.
"I'm hoping the game will be on the line late, and I can come through and be clutch."
Byrum has been clutch and accurate in his senior season. He's eight of 10 this season with a long of 48 yards. He has more than 60 touchbacks on kickoffs this year, and he's 47 for 47 on extra points. When he heads to Auburn after college, he'll continue the great kicking tradition that has already been established at St. Thomas Aquinas.
"Florida is good with athletes in general," Byrum said. "St. Thomas produces at every position, and the coaches are great and know what they're doing. I know at St. Thomas we work harder than anybody else during the offseason, so maybe that's a reason why we've had so much success with kickers. All that hard work does pay off."
For Byrum, it paid off with a full scholarship to kick for the Tigers.
"It was kind of an easy decision from me," he said. "I had offers from Colorado and Auburn when I committed, and then N.C. State came and offered me later. I looked at the recruiting classes this year and last year of the schools that were recruiting me. It was going to be tough to go anywhere but Auburn. They're a great program. I wanted to be in a national championship, get a good education and get a shot at the NFL. Auburn gives me a shot at all three."