Whirlwind Week for Lopez Ends with Visit

On Monday the coaches visited his home, on Wednesday he was offered, which he immediately accepted, and on Friday he was on a plane to San Jose to take his official visit to San Jose State University - his new home for the next 4-5 years. It's been a whirlwind week for kicker Austin Lopez. He spoke with Inside Sparta about his trip to the Bay Area.

Austin Lopez of Trinity High School in Euless, Texas is no stranger to California, or for that matter San Jose State. Born in the Southern California community of Newport Beach, his family moved shortly after his arrival to Fremont here in the Bay Area. As early as the age of five he was hooked on the Spartans. The Lopez's moved to Texas when Austin was young, but his impressions of SJSU stayed with him.

He recently told Inside Sparta that he still has a lot of friends and family here, and it is was always his desire to return to the Bay Area.

Last week Lopez's dream to attend and play football at SJSU came true, and this weekend he was in San Jose for his official visit to the Spartans campus.

"It was great, they took me out and showed me around campus," he said. "I got to see the dorms for the first time and they are really nice."

Lopez is no stranger to the San Jose State campus. He attended camp there last summer, and was in the stands for one of the more significant events of the season.

"I was up there for their first win of the season, against New Mexico State," he said." It was a lot of fun and it was nice to see how happy the team was."

The 6-foot-0, 160-pound Lopez was the only offered player on campus during the last recruiting weekend for the Class of 2012. He said he's been following the Spartans on and off the field, and is impressed with the direction of the program.

"They improved their record last season after 2010," he said. "Coach (Mike) MacIntyre is out recruiting the best players, not settling. I know the team will only get better."

The SJSU staff started recruiting Lopez after he attended camp, and while an offer didn't materialize until late in the process, he said the coaches were always straight up with him and what they were doing.

"They kept me in the loop about what they were doing, that they wanted to get a junior college player in," Lopez said. "They wanted someone with experience to come in and start, but the other dude went to Washington State, so then they started looking more at me as an option. I won't redshirt, I'll be playing right away."

Lopez may not have the Football Bowl Subdivision experience, but he's no stranger to playing in front of big crowds. High School football in Texas is big-big time, and Trinity is a perennial powerhouse.

"For our playoff games this year we had crowds of around 25,000 people," he said.

Spartan Stadium holds just over 30,000 but rarely sells out. Lopez said he's looking forward to being a part of the team that changes that.

Like many placekickers, Lopez got his start in athletics on the soccer field. However, he came across a few college football players, and things started to change.

"I met a couple of kickers from (Texas) A&M and Baylor, they were friends of my sisters" he said. "They started coaching me a little and I ended up kicking my sophomore year."

Lopez had one other offer, from Stephen F. Austin University and was supposed to visit their campus last weekend, but that plan quickly changed after the offer from San Jose State.

Don Hoekwater is the Publisher of Inside Sparta. You are welcome to contact Don with any questions or suggestions at publisher@insidesparta.net.

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