Today we feature a player that “redshirted” last season, but could do again this year because of COVID making sure last year did not count towards anyone’s eligibility.
Bryce Austin - Fr. (RS)
Detroit, MI (Southfield Arts & Tech)
6’2”, 305 pounds
2021 Projection: Possible contributor
The opportunity is there for Austin to break into he rotation at defensive tackle this season. He certainly has the size to play, and most teams like to have four tackles they can rotate regularly in order to keep everyone fresh. Anthony Watts has one of the spots locked down. Austin is the only other player not he roster listed as “defensive tackle” as opposed to “defensive line”, but Jeff Marks, Lawrence Johnson, and KJ Stokes should also vie for playing time.
The Detroit Free Press had a lot of positives to say about Austin in high school:
Over the summer, Austin chose the Boilermakers over Michigan State and Pittsburgh because of a comfort factor. He said Purdue recruited him longer and more intensely than other schools, and he felt there was a chance for immediate playing time.
“I would have felt good going to those other schools,” Austin said. “But Purdue was on me for so long.”
During his freshman and sophomore years at Southfield A&T, Austin was primarily a linebacker and running back before his body changed dramatically.
Conley said in between his sophomore and junior seasons, he grew a couple inches and put on 50 pounds, putting him at close to 275.
With that physical transformation, a move to defensive line became obvious.
“He’s grown so much,” Conley said. “He had a really excellent year last year. He has a natural knack for making plays and he’s really coachable, too. He’s a wonderful kid to have because he follows the scheme, works well with the scheme and makes plays.”
He ended up being a three-star recruit and redshirted last season. He had 62 total tackles, including 15 tackles for loss with 3.0 sacks, a fumble forced and a fumble recovered. Because of that and the redshirt year he is a player to watch this coming season.