CHARLESTON, S.C. – Former Charleston Southern offensive lineman Erik Austell received an invitation to participate in the NFL Combine on Monday. The combine runs from February 28 through March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Austell and other offensive line participants are scheduled to work out on Friday, March 3, with parts of the on-field workouts being broadcast on NFL Network.Austell’s invitation marks the first time in program history the Buccaneers have had a player invited to the NFL Combine.“Getting an invitation to the Combine is not like any other invitation; it’s an invitation to work even harder,” Austell said. “It gives me a better opportunity to showcase and the opportunity to work even harder. The biggest thing about being at the Combine is being able to show what I can do, match up against the best of the country, and show that I belong.Austell, primarily a left tackle at CSU, earned All-American honors from the Associated Press, STATS FCS and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in 2016. The Warner Robins, Ga. native lined up at multiple positions along the offensive line in his senior season, showcasing his versatility while leading a unit that was saddled with injuries throughout the year.Austell was voted a team captain prior to the season and bounced back from an injury to return to his normal dominant self in his season year. He started 10 games and graded out at 91.4 percent while recording 84 knockdown blocks.Austell earned a place on the All-Big South first-team after powering the nation’s sixth best rushing attack. CSU scored 30+ points six times and tallied 500+ yards of offense four times. He finished his career with 39 starts and was an integral part of the winningest senior class in program history.“Erik has 100% earned every accolade he has received,” CSU Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Gabe Giardina said. “I am so proud of what he has become over time. He started here as a 230-pound defensive end and made himself into a 295-pound All-American and team captain. He deserves to be there. The best part is that when he and I were able to talk, it was about fulfilling God’s mission in his life through football. It is immensely gratifying to see his hard work paying off.”
About the NFL CombineNational Invitational Camp (NIC), more commonly known as the NFL Scouting Combine, began in 1982 when National Football Scouting, Inc. first conducted a camp for its member NFL clubs in Tampa, Florida. The key purpose then, same as it is today, was to ascertain medical information on the top draft eligible prospects in college football. The inaugural NIC was attended by a total of 163 players and established a foundation for future expansion.During the first three years, two additional camps were held at different times to collect similar information for teams that did not belong to National Football Scouting. However, in 1985 all 28 NFL teams decided they would participate in future National Invitational Camps with the goal of sharing costs for the medical examinations of draft eligible players. After brief stints in New Orleans (1984, 1986) and Arizona (1985) the camp was moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where it has been operated since 1987.As football and the art of evaluating players has evolved, so has the NFL Scouting Combine. While medical examinations remain the number one priority of the event, athletes will also participate in a variety of psychological and physical tests, as well as, formal and informal interviews with top executives, coaches and scouts from all 32 NFL teams. NIC is the ultimate four day job interview for the top college football players eligible for the upcoming NFL Draft.