Lutzenkirchen might seem like a hard name to pronounce at first, but eventually it will just roll right off the tongue.
And Philip Lutzenkirchen is more than ok with it. Discoveries of the name have been entertaining to say the least, especially from the very beginning of his recruitment.
"Growing up I have heard a lot of people butcher my name," Lutzenkirchen said in an interview with Erik Smith of USA Today. "I've heard some funny stuff before; I've even heard 'lunch-and-kitchen' before. It's all good. I know it's a hard name to say so I don't think too much about it".
One favorite discovery was that of CBS commentator, Verne Lundquist, who Lutzenkirchen believes might have some slight affection towards him.
"I haven't seen any of the games, but my parents and buddies joke around that Verne has a man-crush on me," Lutzenkirchen said.
Lutzenkirchen committed to Auburn in May 2008. He signed on with the expectation of playing under then head coach, Tommy Tuberville and his new "spread" offence. 7 months later, Tuberville and his staff (exempting Phillip Lolley) left the Auburn program. Suddenly, Lutzenkirchen had some things to think about. But those thoughts soon went away after he met Gene Chizik and arrived on the Plains.
Lutzenkirchen arrived at Auburn knowing what to expect. He began the season second on the depth chart behind senior Tommy Trott and didn't complain; he knew his time would come. Nevertheless, his freshman season wasn't exactly reticent -- he notched 66 total yards and even hauled in a few touchdown passes.
"Going back to my freshman year and being able to play and score a couple of touchdowns, I never even thought I would play my freshman year," Lutzenkirchen said in an interview with Phillip Marshall of AuburnUndercover. "My sophomore year, getting all the way to Glendale and winning the national championship, playing such a role I did in that. I've just been blessed with so many opportunities."
It's no surprise that Lutzenkirchen crashed into the spotlight, and not just because of his play. His new pencil thin mustache caused quite a stir, which he managed to have some fun with. It became a frequent joke amongst his teammates, the media and the fans. Shortly afterward, teammates Brandon Mosely, Clint Mosely and Davis Hooper all followed suit.
"He's going to come up with something. He's going to juice something. Now when I come to the games, I think people will start wearing the mustaches" teammate Jeffrey Whittaker said in an interview with WLTZ's Jeremy Babin.
In 2010, Lutzenkirchen established himself as one of the premier tight ends in college football. He made big plays on numerous occasions, including the famous game-winning touchdown in Bryant Denny Stadium which capped one of college football's most famous comebacks. It resulted in another brief moment of 'Lutziness' - an unusual dance celebration that he called a "a Riverdance or something," at the time and that was later put to music, most memorably, "Teach Me How To Dougie."
"The Lutzie" soon became a cult classic, and shortly afterward, videos of Auburn fans performing the dance in their living rooms, kitchens, garages and even stores started popping up on the internet. It was a testament of his strong influence amongst the Auburn faithful. His intentional silliness was refreshing in a sports world full of crime, hatred and downright I'm-dead-serious-I-have-no-fun. Lutzenkirchen isn't afraid to laugh at himself.
It's not just silly things, though. Lutzenkirchen's influence and leadership is riveting. His teammates and coaches know all about it.
His on field performances should not go unnoticed. He may not be the freak athlete that is increasingly common nowadays at the tight end position, but he knows how to get the job done, and that in itself is invaluable. The myth of Lutzenkirchen is real, and it's been proven numerous times - whether he's flipping over to finish a catch, grabbing the ball one handed out of the air, or running some of the cleanest routes you've ever seen.
He'll risk everything for that extra yard, catch, or touchdown, a characteristic which is needed but not frequently seen as much nowadays.
His sneakiness on the football field is uncanny; his knack to finding open space, create lanes and catch just about everything is a big reason why he'll be a valuable draft pick in 2013.
He'll likely go down as the best tight end in Auburn history, and for good reason. Lutzenkirkchen may not blow up the stat sheets, but his value to this team is inevitably high. He not only brings a hard-nosed playing style to the offence, but he provides intentional silliness, banter and positive vibes.
Lutzenkirchen will return to the team his senior season for his final encore, which will be invaluable for both the offence, and the team overall. And I'm certainly looking forward to it.
"We're looking forward to Philip returning for his senior season," Gene Chizik said in an interview with Joel Erikson of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. "The success he's had at Auburn will help provide great leadership for our team in 2012."
*Editor's note: There may or may not be actual video evidence of at least one College and Magnolia staff member participating in the Lutzie dance craze. Maybe.