Austin Calls Latest UMD Trip an 'Eye Opener'

Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.) cornerback Dionte Austin has been in College Park, Md., plenty of times for football games, basketball games and camps, but his most recent visit, for the UMD-Syracuse hoops showdown Feb. 24, was a bit different than the rest.

Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.) cornerback Dionte Austin has been in College Park, Md., plenty of times for football games, basketball games and camps, but his most recent visit, for the UMD-Syracuse hoops showdown Feb. 24, was a bit different than the rest. Austin, who has held a Terps offer since last summer, called the trip "an eye opener" that made UMD stand out among his extensive offer list.

"Absolutely [the visit] helped Maryland a whole lot. I was always high on them, but now Maryland is definitely up there in my top of the top," said the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Austin, who holds scholarships from Boston College, Indiana, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Connecticut, Rutgers and Maryland, among others. "I mean, I'm not ready to commit or anything, but this definitely opened my eyes."

While the basketball game, a 57-55 UMD loss, was fun, Austin said the coaching staff and meeting with current Terps Stefon Diggs and Wes Brown really hit home. He said he spent the majority of the trip talking to his recruiter, Keith Dudzinski, and defensive coordinator Brian Stewart.

"Other than the game, getting to know the staff better, what they see for me there, and just how they are – that's what stood out," Austin said. "Coach Keith was asking me how I was doing at Calvert Hall and just talking to me like normal. Coach Stewart asked about school, what I'm working on and his plan for me in the secondary.

"I liked what [Stewart] was telling me. He didn't get into such details about football, but he was talking about how I would develop as a player and a man if I went there. He said Maryland would help me become a better person first and foremeost, and that meant a lot."

Austin particularly enjoyed listening to Diggs and Brown offer up a "stay home" plea to all the recruits in attendance. The Calvert Hall corner said he had actually been thinking about venturing farther away from home for college, perhaps to Indiana or Georgia Tech, but after Diggs' and Brown's address he said he's considering sticking with the hometown program.

"[Diggs and Brown], they basically talked about why they stayed home instead of going somewhere else. They said all the top guys in Florida go to one of the Florida colleges, so why can't we do that here in Maryland?" Austin said. "That definitely meant something to me.

"I mean, if you stay here, you're home, but you're not that close to home where my mom could just pop in even though she's just 30 minutes away. Stefon was saying you're still on a college campus, you're still separated from your family even though you're close by, and it's just a different environment then living with your parents."

As for the basketball game, Austin said he had a whole lot of fun watching Maryland attempt a comeback, how charged the student section was and "how it got a little rowdy there, which I really liked."

"I've been to Maryland about five times now, but this was the best yet," Austin said. "None of my other visits were like this. This opened my eyes."

But, as Austin mentioned before, he's not about to commit anytime too soon. He has a Wake Forest trip planned for this weekend, and he might hit Duke and N.C. State on the way back. He's also taking a hard look at Indiana and Georgia Tech, two other schools he's seen before and has been in close contact with.

"Indiana, Maryland, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are the schools I'm looking at," Austin said. "With Indiana, I like their staff, their facilties and how they're growing as a team. They need people like me to get over the hump.

"Georgia Tech, I've talked to their coaches and they're really stressing education and how a Georgia Tech degree will help me a lot if football doesn't work out. And Wake, it's the same thing as Tech. I've never been to Wake, though, so I'll learn more about them when I get down there this weekend. I'm looking forward to meeting the staff and seeing what they're all about."

Austin said he has not timetable for making his college decision. He said it could come later this summer, or even next winter, depending on what offers he secures and if he's comfortable with a school or not.

"I can either do it before my senior year so I can concentrate on football, or I can wait to see what offers I get based off my last season," Austin said. "I honestly haven't decided what I want to do yet."

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