Erik Austell is working hard in the gym. It's supposed to be his day off but when you're getting ready for the NFL draft, there are no off days.
"Working explosion out of your stance and hitting bags and the sled and all of that stuff. It's been a pretty whole-body approach going forward." the lineman says.
His whole body of work at C-S-U shows his athleticism.
"There were a couple times where I had to pull out and get on a corner and cover him up pretty good. Like at North Dakota State. I covered him up and Holloway went for six."
You've got to be in good shape to do that but you've got to be smart about it too.
"There's a fine line between going too hard and not going hard enough. You gotta toe the line. You don't want to hurt yourself training because the point of training is to prevent injury." Austell says.
Austell's had two minor injuries but he's good to go now.
It's on to lunch after that. Austell dishes on trying to make it to the NFL from a small school.
"Nothing was ever facilitated for us; you had to fight for everything. You change positions, I think they see somebody who's resilient. I can adapt to less than ideal situations and come out on top because that's kind of been the theme throughout my entire career."
Later in the day, Austell makes a stop to The Fan Zone for an autograph signing. Where will his N-F-L career begin? Hats and shirts on the store's walls show plenty of possibilities. Realizing the goal with any one of them?
"It's kind of ridiculous, yeah"
Especially when you consider the odds.
"You're talking about less than one percent of football players who are less than one percent of the population that actually get to play in the NFL. You gotta kind of let yourself come down to earth like 'Holy crap, I'm sitting in an NFL locker room."
And if he gets there via the draft he'd be the first one ever from Charleston Southern.
"To get a guy picked during one of the three days during the draft process it just raises the level of your program to another level." says Austell's former offensive line coach at CSU Gabe Giardina.
"To be the first player to be drafted would be just kind of an honor. It would almost be humbling in a sense like 'Me? over all these guys that came before me?' It'd be really cool for me but it'd also be cool to represent them. And represent not only the former players but the current players and the coaches and stuff that I played for. It'd be an honor." Austell says.
An honor Austell is ready to sign up for.