LSU’s 2021 season is still two days away from kickoff, but its kickoff specialist was honored ahead of the UCLA game.
Avery Atkins was awarded the famed No. 18 jersey and will wear it alongside senior linebacker Damone Clark. The 18 is one of LSU’s longest traditions given to the player who, as the football programs puts it “epitomizes what being an LSU football player means.”
Atkins certainly fits that mold. Atkins came to LSU as a preferred walk on and has been handling the kickoff duties since 2018. He was awarded a scholarship prior to the 2019 season and he’s been the greatest kickoff specialist in school history with a program-best 270 kickoffs and 227 touchbacks.
Atkins is also the first specialist to wear the number which is an even cooler honor. Punters and kickers are people too and Atkins is the best Tiger to ever handle the kickoff duties.
Former LSU quarterback Matt Mauck wore the No. 18 in 2003 and passed it down to tailback Jacob Hester once Hester arrived in 2004. Hester wore it all four years and the number has since been passed down to Richard Dickson (2008-2009), Richard Murphy (2010), Brandon Taylor (2011), Bennie Logan (2012), Lamin Barrow (2013), Terrence Magee (2014) Tre’Davious White (2015-2016), JD Moore and Christian LaCouture (2017). Foster Moreau (2018), K’Lavon Chaisson and Lloyd Cushenberry (2019), and Damone Clark wore it along with Chris Curry last season.