- Aucoin had 58 pancake blocks as a senior, paving the way for a 2,000-yard rusher at New Orleans Brother Martin
- Aucoin's last name is pronounced OH-kwin — which UT coaches recruiting him struggled with at first.
- Aucoin was once threatened to be ejected from a game for being too physical. His coach rewarded him with fried chicken.
NEW ORLEANS — Texas’ new tight end concluded his high school career with exactly two pass receptions.
Feel OK about that?
Peyton Aucoin once was threatened with an ejection for — get this — being too aggressive.
Feel better now?
Though everyone insists he’s got the skills to dissect coverages and augment a passing attack, Aucoin would rather knock you over than run by you.
At New Orleans Brother Martin — a private, all-male Catholic school that’s a state wrestling power in Louisiana — Aucoin was the “Smash” to fellow tight end Irvin Smith’s “Dash,” nicknames they acquired from Texas tight ends coach Jeff Traylor, who tried to make the friends a package get for the Longhorns until Smith chose Alabama in the days leading up to national signing day.
So Texas ended up with the smasher.
Aucoin, with his sprawling 6-feet, 5-inch frame, looks like a tight end just begging to put on another 20 to 30 pounds of college mass. For now, he goes about 240 pounds, which made him big enough to register 58 pancake blocks as a senior, one of which came on a good lick against fellow Texas signee D’Andre Christmas-Giles, who starred at Brother Martin’s rival, St. Augustine.
“I got him good once,” Aucoin said. “Never had a chance to block him after that.”
Aucoin’s profile is the 12th in our series highlighting the Longhorns Class of 2016. To catch up on the rest of the series, here’s an interactive map of Texas’ recruiting class of 2016.
Before another word is written, it’s best we pause and break out the pronunciation guide. Early on in Aucoin’s recruitment, Traylor and other Longhorns coaches butchered the proper enunciation of his last name, which somehow distills into OH-kwin. To think, UT’s other tight ends — Caleb Bluiett, Andrew Beck, Blake Whiteley and Garrett Gray — aren’t exactly tongue-twisters.
Game officials knew Aucoin as No. 88, or, in as was the case in Brother Martin’s 2014 season opener, the rough-houser. Eager for physical confrontation after hitting a growth spurt and putting on 30 pounds, Aucoin showed up for the start of his junior year against Patterson High and “there was not a person I was not trying to put on the ground.”
Officials threatened him with an ejection for being too physical, which Aucoin’s position coach, Ryan Zeringue, thought to be both ridiculous and also pretty cool. Rather than trying to dampen his tight end’s tenacity, Zeringue encouraged it. He told Aucoin after the game that he’d reward his efforts with lunch. The next day after film study, Zeringue made a run to Popeyes and fetched Aucoin a chicken fingers combo with mashed potatoes.
The chicken went well with the 20 pancakes Aucoin had delivered the night before. Yes, according to his coaches, Aucoin actually knocked 20 Patterson players onto their backs.
“You think I’m exaggerating,” Zeringue said. “I’m not exaggerating on that number.”
Brother Martin athletic director Scott Williams said he pitied the hopeless defenders who had to butt heads with Aucoin.
“Did I feel bad for that kid that was about to go up against him? Yeah, I did,” Williams said. “You knew what was about to happen.”
Fried chicken soon became an exception in Aucoin’s diet, as he began seeing a nutritionist and, according to Brother Martin head coach Mark Bonis, evolved into one of those first-to-arrive, last-to-leave types. That increased discipline led to 21 scholarship offers, which Aucoin winnowed to two before choosing Texas over Florida in late July. LSU never pulled the trigger, and, Aucoin said, ignored his phone calls after requesting that he reach out to them.
“It was emotional for me to know my home state team didn’t want me,” he said. “I would have much rather preferred them to tell me I’m not good enough than to ignore me and let it play out.”
Aucoin, who didn’t make the cut for his fifth grade basketball team, added “I always hated when I wasn’t good enough for something. I hate that feeling.”
His coaches believe he would’ve been good enough to catch more than two passes, had Aucoin’s talents not been muted by other Brother Martin weapons. There was Smith, who was more of a receiver than a traditional tight end, and there was 2,000-yard rusher Bruce Jordan-Swilling, the son of former New Orleans Saints star Pat Swilling who’s a four-star linebacker recruit with offers from all of the big schools except, curiously, Texas.
Aucoin’s two catches were about quality, not quantity. His first was a 48-yard gain as a junior where he slipped into the seam and, Bonis said, changed the complexion of the game since the Crusaders were backed up deep. The second came his senior year, his first — and only — touchdown catch.
“I can play,” Aucoin said. “I know what I can do. I don’t care what other people think I can do. I didn’t have a lot of opportunities, but that gives me something to prove when I get to Texas.”