CHARLESTON, S.C. - Former Charleston Southern offensive lineman Erik Austell received an invitation to participate in the NFL Combine on Monday. The combine runs from February 28 through March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Austell and other offensive line participants are scheduled to work out on Friday, March 3, with parts of the on-field workouts being broadcast on NFL Network.
Austell's invitation marks the first time in program history the Buccaneers have had a player invited to the NFL Combine.
"Getting an invitation to the Combine is not like any other invitation; it's an invitation to work even harder," Austell said. "It gives me a better opportunity to showcase and the opportunity to work even harder. The biggest thing about being at the Combine is being able to show what I can do, match up against the best of the country, and show that I belong."
Austell, primarily a left tackle at CSU, earned All-American honors from the Associated Press, STATS FCS and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in 2016. The Warner Robins, Ga. native lined up at multiple positions along the offensive line in his senior season, showcasing his versatility while leading a unit that was saddled with injuries throughout the year.
Austell was voted a team captain prior to the season and bounced back from an injury to return to his normal dominant self in his season year. He started 10 games and graded out at 91.4 percent while recording 84 knockdown blocks.
Austell earned a place on the All-Big South first-team after powering the nation's sixth best rushing attack. CSU scored 30+ points six times and tallied 500+ yards of offense four times. He finished his career with 39 starts and was an integral part of the winningest senior class in program history.
"Erik has 100% earned every accolade he has received," CSU Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Gabe Giardina said. "I am so proud of what he has become over time. He started here as a 230-pound defensive end and made himself into a 295-pound All-American and team captain. He deserves to be there. The best part is that when he and I were able to talk, it was about fulfilling God's mission in his life through football. It is immensely gratifying to see his hard work paying off."
For more information on the Combine, visit the NFL's website.