Introducing Iowa OL Austin Blythe

A two-sport star in wrestling in football, Williamsburg High School (Williamsburg, Iowa) star Austin Blythe is one of the more heavily recruited interior linemen in the Midwest.

Capable of playing offensive guard or defensive tackle (Stanford is recruiting him as a defensive tackle), Blythe has received offers from Wisconsin, Stanford, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State.

Last weekend, the multi-talented 6-foot-3, 280-pound lineman flew out to the Bay Area with his mom and coach to get a taste of what Stanford has to offer.

"It was just a day and a half but we pretty much saw everything we possibly could," Blythe said. It was a jam-packed two days. I mean everything they could do for us they did. It was just a fulfilling visit."

Blythe seemed to particularly enjoy spending time with a few current Stanford players, and hanging out in a relaxed social environment.

"They have good clean fun," Blythe said. "And that's what I like. I don't like to go out and party or anything so it was good. It's what I typically do on a weekend - just sit around hang out with friends and play video games and stuff."

Although he didn't stay overnight in the dorms, Blythe did spend significant time with a few key contributors to Stanford's offense.

"I got to know David DeCastro and Andrew Luck actually," Blythe said. "They were both welcoming and anybody who came in the room was like, ‘Hey, what's up, welcome to Stanford and nice to meet you.' So I felt comfortable. I felt like I could fit in and stuff."

Before returning home, Blythe also got to tour the campus, see the athletic facilities and get more information on Stanford's academic offering.

The three star recruit thinks he will major in either architecture (or architectural engineering) or sports medicine, and was impressed with Stanford's offerings in those fields.

"Stanford has a great engineering program," Blythe said. "It's second in the nation to MIT, and their sports medicine is also surprisingly well off. We saw that facility and the amount of money and research and technology that goes into sports medicine stuff and the rehab center is just unbelievable.

"It surprised me because you never hear about Stanford as being one of those top schools for sports medicine. You always hear about engineering and math and stuff like that. So that was surprising. Stanford offers great programs for both of those majors."

After what seemed to be a successful visit, it should come as no surprise that Blythe considers Stanford as one of his top schools at this point in his recruitment.

"It'll be one of the places that will definitely be one of my top three or five or whatever choices when it comes down to it," Blythe said.

Although it's still a little unclear as to when Blythe will make a college decision, but he anticipates it will be sometime before his senior wrestling season. He lists strong academics, good football tradition, campus life, and coaches as factors in his choice, but thinks when push comes to shove, he'll end up at the school he feels most comfortable with.

"One is a great academic tradition," Blythe said. "And the schools that are recruiting me all have great academic programs. Second is a football tradition, a winning football tradition. Again, all the schools have that. They all fit that, those first two criteria. Third, great coaches. Fourth just good campus life and just the campus itself.

"All the schools pretty much fit that and I think when it comes down to it will just be where I feel most comfortable and where I think I'll fit in the most."

Notably absent from that list of deciding factors is distance. Blythe said that while he was initially hesitant to go to a school as far away as Stanford, the Junior Day visit changed his mind.

"Before this visit I was thinking to myself and talking with my parents about this," Blythe said. "I thought distance would be kind of a deciding factor but after going on the Stanford visit I can see myself fitting in and if my parents know that then I know they're going to be supportive of me. They're going to be at each and every one of my games when possible and so I don't think that will be a deciding factor anymore. I'm glad that this visit to Stanford put that deciding factor out the window."

No matter where Blythe ends up though, he will have to decide whether he wants to keep wrestling at the collegiate level. Blythe admits competing in two sports would be a tall task, left the possibility open of doing so.

"I told the coaches while I was out there I'm just thinking to myself and talking with my parents about the possibility of doing both and how hard it would be with the college life, especially at Stanford, with trying to earn that degree," Blythe said. "It would be tough. But I mean with the time management that you can learn and the tutors, academic support, teachers, stuff like that, I don't think it's out of the question. I think I would like to do both at some point. But when that is I have no idea."

Either way, the skills Blythe has learned on the wrestling mat should help him considerably on the football field for years to come.

"I think it has a tremendous effect on the way it helps me in football," Blythe said. "You have to have balance in wrestling because you're being constantly attacked with people's hands trying to knock you off balance. So that's one thing. You're not easily knocked off balance on the defensive or offensive line. If you do take a step out of balance you're quick to regain balance and stuff like that.

"The other thing is the leverage that you have to have as a wrestler also translates to the football field, especially on the offensive and defensive line. It's always said that the low man wins, so that's another unbelievable help that comes from wrestling.

"One that people might not think about is just the competitiveness of wrestling. Going one on one with some guy, you don't want to lose. That's kind of the same in football. You're going against the defensive or offensive lineman in front of you and you don't want to lose to that guy on a certain play. So that helps too, that one on one competition in your head and not letting the guy beat you off the line."

Blythe has yet to take the ACT or SAT, but reports a 3.6 GPA.

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