Utah State football: Senior wide receiver Matt Austin used off the field lessons to develop leadership qualities

By Megan Allen

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Dec. 10 2012 10:50 a.m. MST

Austin takes that leadership role seriously, hoping to help the team succeed.

“I see myself as being one of those guys you can count on. I’m someone you can go to on or off the field if you need something. I do my best to help anyone out in any way,” Austin said. “Being one of the older guys on the team, makes you a leader. I have to push the younger guys and leave a stepping stone for them to get where they need to be.”

This season’s seniors have seen a drastic change in both atmosphere and performance as they have gone through their college careers. As the program has grown and developed under head coach Gary Andersen, they have come to truly appreciate the success the team is seeing.

“I’ve been a part of something great these last two years, and now we’re doing something even better,” Austin said. “It’s been a great feeling to be a part of something special and to actually watch the program grow. It’s been a slow process, but we’ve come a long way and now we’re doing big things.”

A huge motivator for the team has been the increase of fan support in the wake of the team’s success this season.

“The fan base, outside of the football, is what I love the most. Being a part of the team and the system is great, but knowing the fan base is there and helping us out is what we all like,” Austin said. “We do it for the fans and for the people that doubted us.”

Austin worked hard to defy the odds and statistics laid out by his doctors, his doubters and others who have been in the same situation.

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something. I thought I was done, from the different doctors and research and things like that. They were telling me I was done and couldn’t come back,” Austin said. “If you work hard, anything is possible. I really didn’t believe that before my injuries happened. I was lazy; I didn’t really care. Those injuries helped me grow and helped me process that anything is possible.”

Megan Allen writes for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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