CHHS graduate Zac Etheridge enters his sophomore year as Auburn’s strong safety
Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 3, 2008
Following a successful career at Charles Henderson High School, Zac Etheridge became the starting strong safety at Auburn University in 2007.
Etheridge recorded 65 tackles in his freshman year, which was second best on the team. But this year, Etheridge is focused on one thing.
&uot;We have a great team this year and I am looking forward to great things for the team and individually,&uot; Etheridge said. &uot;We want to get an SEC championship and a national championship. We are looking forward to another run at the title and we are working hard every day to achieve that.&uot;
Without focus, Etheridge knows his dreams will fade.
&uot;One goal for me this year is to stay focused and to know the plays, know my role on the team and make plays when I get the chance,&uot; he said. &uot;I definitely want to make some noise and talk more out there on the field. The other team will know who No. 4 is.&uot;
Etheridge joins sophomore Mike McNeil and juniors Jerraud Powers and Aairon Savage in the defensive backfield for the Tigers in 2008, but he is just happy to be playing at an SEC school.
&uot;It is such a blessing to play for Auburn,&uot; Etheridge said. &uot;Things are going great and it feels great to be playing at a top school and it makes me enjoy playing the game of football even more.&uot;
Etheridge has only been playing football since his days walking the halls of CHHS, but he said he has dreamt of playing college football since he first touched a pigskin.
&uot;I have stayed focused and I set a goal for myself when I was in high school,&uot; Etheridge said.
Etheridge and the Tigers are expecting big things for the 2008 campaign and Auburn is ranked high to middle depending on the source.
&uot;We are looking great and we still have room for improvement, but we are having fun with it,&uot; he said. &uot;We expect big things this year.&uot;
But before he can contend for an SEC championship or a national title, the Tigers need to hit the practice field. Practice started for Auburn yesterday and Etheridge said he couldn’t wait to get practice started.
&uot;I am so excited and ready to get those pads back on,&uot; Etheridge said last Wednesday.
However high he rises, Etheridge has not forgotten about where he came from. He still follows his alma mater and he said he hopes they make a deep playoff run again this year.
&uot;Last year they (CHHS) had that 12-0 season until the quarterfinals and it was great to see that,&uot; he said. &uot;I hope they do it again this year.&uot;
Playing at Auburn University is not just fun and games to Etheridge. He knows that he is a role model to every player at Charles Henderson High School.
&uot;By me being here in Auburn, there are a lot of people who are looking at me,&uot; Etheridge said. &uot;I enjoy that they all want to follow how I do and it makes me proud to have them watching me. But that makes me work harder because I know I am representing Troy. But it lets me send the message that anything possible if you put your mind to it.&uot;
Etheridge suits up for the first game of his sophomore season and second year as the starting strong safety Aug. 30 when the Tigers host Louisiana-Monroe at 6 p.m.