Erik Austell remembers four years ago when he and his parents decided to stop home schooling and let him attend Central Fellowship.
Austell was thrilled about the opportunity to compete against other athletes his age again and especially thrilled about getting to be on the golf team.
Austell never made it to the golf team at CFCA but found that football was a very good fit for him. And on Wednesday afternoon, before the entire student body, Austell became the first football player in 10 years from CFCA to get a scholarship to play football, signing a national letter-of-intent with Charleston Southern.
“The football coach saw me the first day and told me that he didn’t really think I should play golf,” said Austell, with a big smile. “Looking back, I’m sure he was right. I have always loved football, and that was probably the best advice I could have received at that time.”
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Austell also had to overcome his school not even having a football team his sophomore season.
“We didn’t have enough players to field a team,” head coach Chris Oxford said. “I told Erik then that if he would stick with me and the school, we would get enough kids to have a football team the next two years. It shows what kind of young man he is because he stuck with us. He worked very hard that year and became a much better athlete. His work ethic is one of the main reasons he ended up with a scholarship.”
Austell thinks he has learned many things at CFCA that will help him at Charleston Southern, a team that went 0-11 last year.
“It’s all about the team, weather we are winning or losing,” said Austell, who played every position on the field during his years at CFCA. “I am looking forward to being around so many great athletes and working hard to get better. They said I would probably start out playing defensive end, but I don’t really care what position I end up playing. I am just happy to get to play four more years of football. A lot of people didn’t think I would get this chance playing for such a small school, but with the help of my coaches, I am getting a chance to play big time football.”