Augustin Looking To Improve

RALEIGH, N.C. -- True freshman Audi Augustin has impressed early on, but he admits he has a lot to prove.

True freshman Audi Augustin has impressed early on, but he admits he has a lot to prove.

"I think this is a slow process," said Augustin following practice. "I'm a freshman so I still have a lot to learn, but coach Stroud is a great coach. He's coaching us well, and I'm learning so much right now."

Augustin entered fall practice with high expectations, as he was arguably the Wolfpack's most heralded defensive recruit. With over 40 offers on the table from programs such as Oklahoma, South Carolina, Auburn, Rutgers, and Ole Miss, Augusin narrowed his list down to NC State and Pittsburgh before choosing the Wolfpack on signing day.

The talented defensive end has caught head coach Chuck Amato's attention.

"Audi has caught our eye," said Amato. "Audi Augustin has got it. He's just really a youngster.

"He's got all the tools. He's got all the tools. He's a pretty strong youngster for his age, and now he's really thinking a little bit now. I think he's got a great future in front of him."

Don't expect Augustin to get complacent with just impressing coach Amato. He knows that he has a lot of work ahead of him to see the field as a true freshman.

"I'm getting work in there, but personally I feel that I haven't done anything yet," he said. "I still have a lot to prove. We haven't even played our first game, and I'm not in the NFL yet, so I still have a lot to prove.

"I love to be coached, and I bring good intensity... that's what I can add, but everybody on the defensive line looks good. There's nobody that I see on the defensive line that I think I'm better than. I feel like everybody is better than me."

Physically, Augustin is what you're looking for in a defensive end prospect. Standing 6-foot-3 and 250-pounds with huge hands and a long wingspan, he has the speed and athleticism to get up the field and wreak havoc in the backfield. However, he is not facing high school players anymore, and he already can tell there is a major difference between high school and college.

"Everybody in college can really play," Augustin said. "College is a completely different level. If you're in college, you must have been great in high school, because all of the guys here can play.

"I thought it would be a higher level, but I didn't know exactly what to expect. When I first got here I was a little surprised, but I'm coming along real well."

Because the Wolfpack will be looking to replace Mario Williams, Manny Lawson, and John McCargo, most analysts are saying the defensive line should be a weakness in 2006. Not according to Augustin, and two fellow defensive linemen have stick out early in fall practice.

"Oh, the NCAA is going to be surprised this year," he said. "I think our defensive line is going to be great. Ray Brooks is an amazing, amazing athlete. He has a high-motor, and he brings it every single play. Willie Young, he's a speed-rusher. He's non-stop all the time, and he loves running to the ball."

Some incoming freshmen are homesick throughout fall camp, as many are away from home for the first time. Because Augustin had narrowed his list to NC State and Pittsburgh, he knew that he would be leaving his Oakland Park, Florida home to attend college. With the first game just weeks away and college classes starting soon, he doesn't regret his final decision to attend NC State at all.

"I haven't questioned my decision a day in my life," he said. "Ever since I've been here I've loved it. The players are great, and the coaching staff... I love them. Coach Stroud has put three defensive linemen in the first round of the draft, and I love working with him. Who wouldn't want to work for a coach that has done that?"

In the end, does Augustin expect to play this year?

"I really don't know," he said. "It's based on the coaching staff. If they say redshirt, then I'll redshirt. If they want me to play, I'll play. I just want to contribute and do what's best for the team."

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