Scout's Notebook: OG Thomas Austin

Versatile lineman Thomas Austin brings character and versatility to training camp in hopes of landing a roster spot at guard or center with the Vikings. Here's an in-depth look at the stats and analysis of the rookie free agent from Clemson.

#63, Thomas Austin, OG
(6027, 306, 5.25-5.41) Clemson

Born 11/14/86, in Camden, S.C. Graded over 90 percent as a senior at Camden High School. Upstate Lineman of the Year as a senior. Coached by Jimmy Neal. Shrine Bowl starter at offensive tackle. Graded over 85 percent as a junior. Played every position on the offensive line in high school. Was also a three-year letterman in wrestling who won the AAA state title as a junior. Had a 66-4 career wrestling record and was a state finalist and North/South All-Star in wrestling as a senior. Four-year letterman in football. Honor student and recipient of the Governor's Award for outstanding character. President of his high school Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and soloist in the church choir. Was the only Clemson player who was already married; tying the knot on July 5, 2008. Wife is Margaret.

College: Chose Clemson over Maryland, Penn State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest. Redshirted in 2005. Had 22 knockdown blocks and three "intimidation blocks" in 117 snaps in 2006. Started 12 games, including four at right guard and eight at center in 2007, leading the team in knockdown blocks (90), grading in the 80s in each of the last seven games and 10 of his 12 games. Clemson's top offensive lineman in 2008, leading the team in knockdown blocks (98) playing center. Co-captain, third-team All-American by The Sporting News in 2009, second-team All-ACC offensive guard. Played 2,592 career snaps, the 12th most in Clemson history and seventh most among offensive linemen. Graduated in August 2009 with a degree in political science. Austin became a teaching assistant for Political Science 101.

Pre-Draft: Measured 6027 (6-2 7/8), 306 pounds…Did 33 reps at 225 pounds…1.80 10-yard dash…3.02 20-yard dash…5.36 40-yard dash…28-inch vertical jump…7-8 broad jump.

Pro: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Vikings following the 2010 NFL Draft.

Positives: High-character individual. Was a role model and mentor to teammates in college. Well-respected team leader. Quick to learn and adapt. Has a wrestler mentality. Technically sound. Good upper-body strength. Shows good punch, hand placement and leverage to anchor on pass protection. Good hips. Bends his knees. Above-average short-area movement. Shows some initial pop and seals nicely. Versatile; can play any of three interior positions, including making the line calls at center.

Negatives: Limited athlete with marginal natural size and bulk. Gets overpowered by bigger, stronger defenders and almost has to be in a zone-blocking scheme. Inconsistent getting to the second level and hitting his target in the open field. Struggles in space.

Summary: Solid training camp prospect who can line up at guard or center and will give you an honest day's work. Faces an uphill battle against the numbers, but could be a viable practice squad candidate depending on how he performs in camp.

Kevin Brown has been providing personnel analysis and writing about the Vikings for more than 20 years with Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

Scout's Notebook Archive:
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WR Marko Mitchell
FB Ryan D'Imperio
TE Mickey Shuler
RB Ryan Moats
CB Chris Cook
RB Toby Gerhart
DE Everson Griffen
OG Chris DeGeare
LB Nate Triplett
CB Lito Sheppard
DE Mike Montgomery
DT Jimmy Kennedy
RB Albert Young
K Rhys Lloyd

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