Source confirms UNC DT Marvin Austin visits with Patriots in Foxboro
|04.02.11 at 6:08 pm ET|
A league source had confirmed a report from Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune that the Patriots had North Carolina defensive lineman Marvin Austin in for an official pre-draft visit on Friday. Austin is a 6-foot-2, 309-pounder who was suspended for the entire 2010 season for what the NCAA called “violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules,” specifically two trips to California and two trips to Miami.
Each team is allowed up to 30 players for pre-draft visits, and we have been able to confirm three of them for the Patriots — Austin, Miami defensive lineman Allen Bailey and Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter.
Despite the off-the-field problems, Austin is considered by many to be a second-round pick. In 2009, he played in all 13 games making 11 starts and finishing with 42 tackles, 6.0 tackles for losses and four sacks. He certainly impressed at the combine, where he ran an unofficial 4.9-second 40-yard dash and bench-pressed 225 pounds 38 times, the second most by anyone regardless of position.
Speaking at the combine, he said the year away from football was one of toughest of his life.
“It’s still hard to watch some of the stuff that’s said about my character,” Austin said. “I’ve never taken a drink in my life, I’ve never smoked in my life. I’ve done everything to get to this point but one mistake, taking a couple of trips — and one of them was taken to help me get better as an athlete — has cost me my whole senior season and my image.
“It was a mental mistake. I got ahead of myself. I learned that I can never take anything for granted. This is a privilege. To be here is a privilege. A lot of guys would kill to be in the shoes of all of the 300 guys here and so you have to take advantage of it and never abuse the privilege. I went from being one of the top players and prospects in the nation to being a guy that is not even talked about. And it was a tough situation having to sit back and watch all the other defensive linemen go out and play and perform and not be able to do anything. It made you put things in perspective a lot more.”
Here’s some video of Austin in action:
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