Home » 'Hard work and faith': Anders carries on Carlson legacy at Auburn – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

'Hard work and faith': Anders carries on Carlson legacy at Auburn – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

by Arifa Rana

AUBURN, Ala. – Every time Anders Carlson steps up to kick a field goal or an extra point, he expects to make it. He expects to be perfect. As a kicker at any level – NFL, college football, high school – you might only get three or four opportunities a game, and you better not miss.
There’s pressure that comes with that, a certain challenge, but it’s a challenge that Carlson has embraced over the years while kicking for Auburn.
“I love it for what it is,” Carlson said. “You get a few limited opportunities to go be great at what you do all the time. It definitely is a mental challenge because of that. You only get so many opportunities. But it’s a blessing. It’s something fun, something you grow to love.”
Now a senior for the Tigers, Carlson has become one of the most prolific kickers in the SEC. He ranks eighth in the conference in scoring this season at 8.1 points per game and has made at least one field goal in his last 14 games, the longest active streak nationally. He also ranks third in Auburn career scoring with 348 points.
Every one of those kicks, however, is not what defines Carlson. It’s important to him, but it has been just as important to find his identity beyond football.
“No matter what the result is, I’m a child of God,” he said. “Good day, bad day, it matters – but it’s not the end of the world. It’s good perspective to have as a kicker because everyone is going to have a bad day. You can’t be done after that because that’s your identity.”
Finding an identity wasn’t easy for Carlson in the beginning. He could have gone just about anywhere to play college football, but Anders chose to come to Auburn and follow his older brother, Daniel. No small task considering Daniel is the all-time leading scorer in SEC history. 
The two overlapped for one season at Auburn – Daniel was a senior while Anders redshirted. The two look alike, so Anders was constantly getting called “Daniel,” by teammates, classmates, even coaches. It was in that one season, though, when Anders learned from his older brother how to be a student-athlete. Looking back, it’s a season the two will always cherish being together.
“I think I just learned how college football works,” Anders said. “The importance of being on time and being a good teammate, first of all. Then how to balance out life, more than football, was a big thing for me. I think that’s helped me through all the good times and all the bad times. You’ve got to be more than just a football player.”
Daniel has moved on to the NFL where he’s kicking for the Las Vegas Raiders and currently seventh in the league with 68 points this season, but the brotherly bond remains. 
Every Saturday, whether he’s at home or in a hotel room on the road, Daniel is watching the Auburn game and anxiously awaiting when Anders goes to attempt a field goal or extra point. He admits he gets more nervous watching Anders kick than he does when he kicks.
“Without a doubt,” Daniel said. “Usually, I’m in a hotel room traveling for a game myself, but I’m on the edge of the bed watching nervously whenever he’s up there. Just very excited for him. It’s been really fun kind of watching it from a fan’s perspective.”
The two talk at least once a week on the phone, mostly about football and catching up after the weekend games, but also about life. Daniel had a daughter last fall, so Anders loves getting to see his niece. Meanwhile, Anders got engaged over the summer. Anders is also going through the same graduate school program Daniel did when he was at Auburn.
“I’m really proud of how he’s handled himself on the field, in the classroom, all that stuff,” Daniel said. “We had the one year where we were able to crossover. Obviously, I can’t take a lot of credit, but I like to think I helped him kind of learn some of the ropes.
“We discuss weekly stuff – kicking and obviously, we talk about other things as well. But just being able to bounce ideas off each other and watch his career flourish and do everything he’s been able to do the last four or five years now has been just really cool. It makes me really excited and happy for him and what’s ahead after Auburn.”
Recently, Daniel was back at Auburn for the Ole Miss game. It was his daughter’s first Auburn gameday experience. But the highlight for Anders that weekend was when some of the players referred to the elder Carlson as “Anders.”
“It’s funny to see how it changes over time,” Anders said.
Since 2014, the Carlson brothers have attempted all but 11 kicks for the Tigers – 553 in all. With 822 combined career kicking points, they are the all-time leaders in most points scored by a duo of brothers who kicked for the same college. It’s clear both Daniel and Anders have left a mark on Auburn football and the Auburn community that will last forever.
However, as much impact as they have made on Auburn, Auburn has made that same impact and more on each of them and their family.
“I’m surprised my parents didn’t buy a house,” Anders joked. “It’s been awesome. It’s something I think will always be special for our family and who knows where we’ll settle down when we’re older, but Auburn has provided a way for me and Daniel that no other place could have provided. Everything we have, we give credit to God’s way of getting us to Auburn and setting us up for the future.
“I think we are just two guys who value their faith, value people around them and who love to kick a leather ball on Saturdays in Jordan-Hare. That’d be a good tagline for us.”
The end of the Carlson era at Auburn is quickly approaching as there are just three regular season games remaining and then the postseason. The regular season finale against Alabama is always special to both Anders and Daniel because of the back-and-forth they used to have with their late grandfather, Deacon Jones, a longtime Crimson Tide fan.  
Then, if all goes well, Anders will join his brother kicking in the NFL. He might even take his job.
“The coaches have joked about that, giving him the job for less money,” Daniel said. “It was the funny the first couple of times. The third and fourth time, it gets a little more nerve-recking. But hopefully we’ll be playing against each other, and we’ll see him at this next level.”
Regardless of what happens, Anders will leave Auburn better than when he first arrived because of his teammates, his coaches, his friends, his family and because of his brother, Daniel.
“I pride myself on being an Auburn Man, and I think that’s a lot of things,” Anders said. “But I think it’s hard work and faith and just doing what you’re supposed to do the right way.”

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