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Austin not feeling the Draft

It was no surprise to see two former All-Mets, Florida cornerback Joe Haden (Friendly) and Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn (Dunbar) announce they are forgoing their senior seasons and entering April's NFL Draft. Not only are both are expected to be first-round picks, but this was the plan for both players three years ago when they graduated a semester early from high school and enrolled in college in time for spring practice. They wanted to challenge for starting spots as true freshmen. Both were starters for three years.

The same was expected of another 2006 All-Met, North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin (Ballou), when he was an even more heralded recruit in the same class as Haden and Benn. In fact, two area coaches said during the fall that they heard Austin was planning to declare early for the draft.

Yet, Austin announced Sunday (through his Twitter account, of course) that he's planning on returning for his senior season with the Tar Heels.

"yea I could go get paid but in some things it aint all about the money...I love carolina point blank!" Austin wrote on Twitter. (go here if you'd like to follow more of the "LIFEofMA")

Back when he was the nation's top defensive recruit, Austin showed an incredible amount of self-confidence and an ability to rationalize and make sense out of every decision. He clearly hasn't lost that since he arrived at Chapel Hill.

"When we talked," said Ballou assistant coach Todd Amis, a mentor to Austin since he played in D.C. youth leagues, "we said to do it on his terms, not because people said it was time for him to do it ... He wants to maximize his draft position and he feels this is the best way to do that."

Projections throughout the football season pegged Austin as a late first-round draft pick. This year's draft, though, has one of the deepest classes of defensive tackles with Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh, Alabama's Terrance Cody and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy all figured to go somewhere among the top 10-15 picks. With Austin deciding to wait another year, the competition at his own position will likely be much less.

By Alan Goldenbach  | January 4, 2010; 9:31 PM ET
Categories:  Ballou, Dunbar, Football, Friendly, North Carolina  
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