Sophomore Cody Parkey will assume place-kicking duties for the defending national champions, taking over from the most prolific kicker in Auburn history.
Wes Byrum holds nearly every school kicking record of note, including career records for most points kicking (363), field goals made (60) and the single-season record for accuracy (93.8) set in 2009 when he made 15 of 16 field goals.
In addition, Byrum kicked the game-winning field goal in Auburn’s 22-19 BCS title game victory over Oregon.
Parkey, who handled some of the kickoff duties last season, said he learned a lot from Byrum.
“I really appreciate him showing me the ropes and now it’s my turn,” he said. “He showed me a lot to work on.
“I feel like I’m really focused and have gotten better through spring and summer. I feel like I’m a lot better than I was last year, and I’m prepared.”
Parkey brings excellent credentials to the job.
He was ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN.com and Rivals coming out of Jupiter (Fla.) High. As a senior, he made nine of 12 field goals — his three misses all came from outside 49 yards.
Special teams’ coordinator Jay Boulware said Parkey has had a solid fall camp.
“He’s been pretty good,” he said. “He started off a little sluggish for whatever reason. We weren’t kicking nearly as well in the stadium as we were on the practice field. The stadium has a different wind factor element. The wind kind of swirls in there a little bit. In the last scrimmage, he was pretty solid, right on. The last few days, he’s made all his kicks. That’s what we want.”
As for the pressure of following the school’s all-time leading scorer, Parkey says he can handle it.
“I don’t really look at it as pressure,” he said. “I want to be able to make my own legacy and make a name for myself.
“It’s going to be hard to follow a kicker like Wes Byrum as good as he was, but I want to try to do as well if not better.”