Tavon Austin Favoring Terps?

There were quite a few visitors on hand yesterday as Maryland held a big Junior Day event, but few as coveted as star running back Tavon Austin of Dunbar High in Baltimore. How did Austin's visit go, and what's the latest on his recruitment? TurtleSportsReport.com has the answers.

"It was probably an eight-and-a-half or a nine," Austin said of his visit. "They just showed us around the campus and had us in position meetings, the coaches asked us some questions and we ate lunch."

Austin, who may have been overlooking Maryland a bit early in his recruitment, now claims the Terps as his leader, with Virginia right there as well. Boston College, Illinois and Penn State have offered as well, and he plans to visit Penn State next weekend. It's clear that the Maryland staff has made a strong impression on him recently.

"The campus is really big and the stadium is about go get a lot of new seats and other stuff. The stadium's going to be really good … [Running backs coach John Donovan] is a good coach. He's an excellent coach. He just talked to us and told us about how to break down defenses and stuff like that," he said "Coach Franklin, he's a great person. It seems like he's real honest. He knows how to make a person feel like they're already family.

"Coach Friedgen doesn't really talk too much about football. He talks to you as a person. He wants to know how's school, how's family, all of that sort of stuff. I was shocked about that because most coaches want to talk football, football, football. I like football, but it's good for someone to want to know about other things, too. It's real good to see a coach who really cares about the kid."

That's not to say Austin isn't a prized prospect because of his skills. A dazzling playmaker at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, he's won Baltimore Sun player of the year honors the past two years. He rushed for more than 2,500 yards and 40 touchdowns this season as a junior and has led his team to consecutive state championships. He run's a 4.47-second 40-yard dash, and as his highlight tapes exhibit, he has big-time moves and is a threat to go to the endzone on virtually every play. In three years he's moved to No. 1 on Maryland's career touchdown list.

At first, he was infatuated with the idea of playing for Florida State. But the Seminoles haven't been recruiting him, and he's also been growing increasingly fond of the idea of staying near home for college.

"I really don't want to go that far from my family," he said.

Teammate Sean Farr is another major prospect, and the two have talked about playing together in college. Farr, an explosive wide receiver who set a state record with more than 1,400 yards last season, was at the junior day event with Austin. Several more Dunbar players, such as quarterback Jonathan Perry, are Division I prospects.

"We all talk about doing it, but we don't all have the same offers. Only me and Sean have an offer from Maryland. We're still going to try, but if we have to go out separate ways, then that's what we'll have to do," Austin said.

Though Austin is liking the home team quite a bit these days, the Terps staff will have to endure a long process and a lot of competition to land his signature, it seems.

"I'm going the distance," he said, meaning he most likely won't be making a commitment until after taking official visits as a senior.

And while he's sure to attract a lot of additional interest in the months to come, Austin isn't concerned by being somewhat overlooked on a national level.

"I really don't care about being ranked or national or any of that. The one thing that I want, is to play in one of those all-star games. I don't care if I'm the first guy or the last guy picked," he said.

Clearly, he would be one of Maryland's first picks. And the odds of that happening seem to be increasing.

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