Austin, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle rated the No. 1 prospect in the national Class of 2007, was lavished with praise and awarded his black-and-yellow All-American Bowl jersey and hat in front of a large crowd of Ballou students and faculty, Army personnel, media and other onlookers.
Austin is one of 80 players who will be chosen to play in the game, which pits East versus West and perennially attracts many of the top high school players in the nation. Five first-round picks in last year’s NFL Draft – including Reggie Bush, Vince Young and Vernon Davis – are alumni of the game.
“They don’t let me get out of the Pentagon much, but one of the rare occasions they do allow me to, is to attend the U.S. Army All-American Bowl,” Cody said. “Watching this country’s top 80 high school football players showcase their talent, not only to the country, but to the world, before a national TV audience is one of highlights of the athletic year.”
“Everything is big down there in Texas,” Cody told Austin, “so you’ll fit right in.”
Austin then removed his jacket, squeezed the jersey on over his shirt and tie and stepped to the podium to address his schoolmates.
“I give my thanks to the U.S. Army for recognizing my hard work and dedication, I’ve found that life is all about opportunities. So when you get opportunities, maximize them,” Austin said.
He was then pulled in every direction imaginable for pictures and interviews, and by those just wanting to share a minute. The band played and the cheerleaders shouted out cheers about both Austin and Cody. Austin had little time to go into specifics about his recruitment.
“I don’t really have a favorite,’ said Austin, who lists Florida State, Maryland, Miami, Tennessee and USC as the schools he’s considering. He added that he may announce his final decision live on TV at the Bowl, which has become a tradition at the game in recent years.
But his coach, Moe Ware, offered what may have been the scoop of the day.
“I don’t want to speak for him, but I think he wants to play football in Florida,” Ware said, pointing out how Austin’s confident, outgoing personality seems to fit in well in Florida. “If I had to bet my money, I’d bet on a Florida school.”
Marvin Austin Scout.com Profile