Early Enrollment: Meet CB Blessuan Austin

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Converted quarterback Blessuan Austin is a full-time cornerback for Rutgers, where he prepares for his first college practice and spring campaign after a semester at prep school.

Add another athlete with quarterback smarts to the Rutgers defensive secondary as New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy’s Blessuan Austin takes the field Monday for his first Scarlet Knight practice.

A former high school quarterback, the physically impressive Austin joins former quarterbacks like Nadir Barnwell and Anthony Cioffi at cornerback for the Scarlet Knights. Austin started his full-time cornerback career last semester in prep school, and the transition continues during 15 spring practices.

“[The transition] is great,” Austin said. “They’re fixing my mechanics. They make you better every day, and I’m loving it.”Austin credits the Milford coaching staff with his development into a Big Ten prospect, and is eager to begin as a second-team cornerback this spring for the Scarlet Knights.

“It’s a great opportunity, but at the same time I’m just trying to get better,” Austin said. “…[Prep school] definitely helped me mentally. The mistakes you make as a freshman as far as being disciplined, that’s basically what it helped me with.”

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound cornerback takes over Gary Nova’s No. 10 on the Rutgers roster. He is two months into the college transition, and anxiously awaits the addition of your more Milford teammates to the roster this spring – linebacker Sidney Gopre, defensive tackle Kenneth Roman, fullback Conor Dowd and receiver Joseph Gause.

“Milford helped me big time as far as competition,” said Austin, who earned his offer after coach Kyle Flood scouted him against Princeton during a bye week. “Everyone is good. There are all different types of receivers. Big and strong, big and fast … all different types of receivers while I was there.”

“Austin is happy to be teammates with linebacker Deonte Roberts as well after they faced off as rivals in high school.

“It’s wonderful,” Austin said. “We always went against each other in high school so it’s great that we get to be teammates now.”

Austin begins camp as a second-team corner with starters Barnwell and Cioffi limited via injury. He is ready to compete.

“[Rutgers is] definitely the kind of defense that I want to play in,” he said. “They develop your mind mentally as far as playing zone, and then I can come in and play press at the same time.

“…I’m definitely physical. I’m definitely a smart corner, long. That’s all I’ve got right now.”

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