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July 20, 2004As we reported yesterday afternoon at 12:10pm on the esso club message board, the commitment of offensive lineman Thomas Austin has now become a reality. The 6-foot-4, 286-pound guard - center prospect has chosen Clemson over offers from Penn State, Maryland, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Army and Wake Forest.
Early this morning in the Camden - Lugoff area the Camden Chronicle-Independent hit the newsstands much to the delight of Clemson recruiting enthusiasts who found out yesterday on Tigerillustrated.com that the future three-star rated lineman's selection was going to be Clemson.
Austin, who is fresh off an unofficial visit to Auburn (camp) this past weekend, is Tigerillustrated.com's 10th rated prospect in-state regardless of position. He also becomes Clemson's third verbal commitment on the offensive front, which is a key, since Clemson is projected to take just four offensive linemen this winter (with an outside shot at five).
"It felt like a burden had been lifted from me," Austin said in an interview with the Chronicle-Independent's Tom Didato. "I felt sure that this was the right thing for me."
Long-time Camden head coach Jimmy Neal told Didato that Austin was a special player whose character and academics were also strong.
"Clemson is getting one of those real special guys that everybody wishes they could coach all the time," said Neal.
Austin also cited Clemson's small-town atmosphere as a reason for his early commitment, as well as a desire to get his recruiting done early.
The talented interior lineman has excellent technique, and good footwork. Austin fires off the line of scrimmage with a burst, and is probably more polished as a run-blocker. Well-coached, and comes from an excellent family which has been firm in giving strong support in both athletics and academics.
The bloodlines here are also excellent, as Austin's father, Tom, played for the Army Cadets. His uncle Billy was a player for Auburn's 1957 national championship team.
The 3-A Bulldogs are expected to be improved this year, and should be primed for another run at No. 1 under Neal. Austin no doubt will be a big part of that.
For the new Clemson commitment, at this point, comes a focus on three components - Academics, his senior season where he will work not only to help Camden reach the title game but also for himself as he continues to improve, and of course the very reachable goal of making the Shrine Bowl roster.
Tigerillustrated.com encourages Clemson recruiting enthusiasts to purchase a copy of Wednesday's Camden Chronicle-Independent. The Camden CI can be reached at (803) 432-6157.
Clemson commitments to date
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