CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – Charleston Southern alum Erik Austell finished in the top half of his position group in all on-field drills in Friday’s workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium as the offensive lineman hopeful closed out his final day of the 2017 NFL Combine.
Austell, the first CSU player to receive a Combine invitation in program history, weighed in at 301 pounds on Wednesday afternoon. He added 24 repetitions on the bench press on Thursday before moving on to the on-field workouts on Friday morning.
The 6-3 Warner Robins, Ga. native was second in the group to run and posted a 5.23 40-yard dash time to finish among the top half of his position group. His 1.80 second split through 10 yards was the fourth-fastest time by an offensive lineman on the day.
Austell added strong performances in the vertical jump (27.5″), the 3 cone drill (8.13), and the 20-yard shuttle (4.90). His broad jump landed inside the top 10 overall in the position group at 8’11”.
Overall, it was an incredible experience for Austell at the Combine.
“The experience was awesome,” Austell said. “It was really cool being in Lucas Oil Stadium. Being able to perform there with the best players coming out this year was awesome.”
CSU offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Gabe Giardina was in attendance at Friday’s on-field testing and couldn’t say enough about his former All-American tackle.
“Erik looked like he belonged out there,” Giardina said of Austell’s performance. “The moment was not too big for him. He is a great testimony that even if you go to a small school, you can get opportunities on the biggest of levels when you work your tail off. He is a testimony to the things a guy can achieve when they are a good steward of the talents that God has given them. He has taken that talent and multiplied it like so many of our players have done over the last four years.”
Austell saw the positives from his performance on the field on Friday but knows he still has his work cut out for him in the weeks ahead leading up to the NFL Draft on April 27-29.
“I think I performed pretty well overall,” Austell had to say. “My 20-yard shuttle and my L-Drill were not even close to where I can get, so I’ll redo those most likely. My 40 time was solid, so I feel really good about that. I think I proved today that I can move at 300 pounds and still keep the foot speed even though I’m 20 pounds heavier now.”
Though his Combine run is done, Austell has not finished training yet as he looks to continue solidifying his chance to become CSU’s first NFL draftee in program history.
“My next step is some rest for the next few days,” Austell said. “I’ll be flying back to Charleston tonight. From there, I’ll continue training until CSU’s Pro Day.”
Charleston Southern will host its Pro Day on March 13.