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Virginia Tech football: 24 days til kickoff with a look back at Larry Austin

Austin was a Hokie from 1997-2001.

Larry Austin
Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics

Today is August 7, 2019, which means we are officially just 24 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. For day 25, we did things a bit different, profiling both Frank Beamer and Kevin Jones. Beamer is Virginia Tech while Jones is the greatest running back in the history of Virginia Tech, where there have been a lot of great backs.

For day No. 24, we profile former cornerback, Larry Austin. Austin arrived at Virginia Tech in the class of 1997 as a three-star cornerback from Norview High in Norfolk.

Austin redshirted his first season with the Hokies. As a redshirt freshman in 1998, Austin played in every game for the Hokies. He made 5 tackles on the season as a backup cornerback and played special teams. In a stat that clearly endeared him to Frank Beamer, Austin blocked two kicks that season.

During his first season, Austin was behind a pair of pretty good corners in Loren Johnson and Ike Charlton. Austin was one of many young players behind veterans that season waiting for their turn. Players like Ben Taylor, Chad Beasley, David Pugh, Austin, Cory Bird and Anthony Midget played in every game that season, gaining plenty of experience.

As a sophomore on the national championship squad in ’99, Austin again played in every game. Midget and Charlton were now the starting corners while Austin was often Tech’s third corner, along with a freshman named Ronyell Whitaker. Austin kept getting better, registering 38 tackles, one sack, one interception, one forced fumble, two pass breakups and three passes defensed.

Austin began the 2000 season as the starting cornerback opposite of Whitaker. He started the first four games, making 22 tackles, breaking up four passes and along with four passes defensed. Unfortunately, Austin suffered a torn ACL in the first quarter of Tech’s 48-34 win over Boston College. In his absence, Whitaker moved from the field cornerback to Austin’s boundary corner spot and true freshman Eric Green would move into the starting lineup. It was an unfortunate blow for Austin, who was becoming a very good player for the Hokies in the secondary.

Fortunately for Austin and the Hokies, he would make a complete recovery and return to the starting lineup in 2001. Austin played in every game for the Hokies, making nine starts. He collected 22 tackles, picked off one pass and was a terrific leader for Bud Foster’s secondary. That 2001 team had some pretty good depth in the secondary with guys like Austin, Willie Pile, Whitaker, Green, Garnell Wilds and some freshman named DeAngelo Hall.

Austin, like many other players from that era, were known for their blazing speed. At one time, Austin was clocked at a blazing 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard dash during spring practice. Austin is another perfect example of a guy who wasn’t as highly recruited as others, but worked hard and developed into a strong multi-year starter for the Hokies. That era was a special one for Virginia Tech and Austin was among the many reasons why.

Since his time at Virginia Tech, Austin has enjoyed a successful career in the real estate industry.