Looking Back: Austen Lane



 Like every Wisconsinite, Lane was a Cheesehead.

“I was a huge Packer fan, a huge Brett Favre fan,” he said. “But when he went to the Jets I wasn't happy with that. And now he's going to the Vikings and some Packer fans are saying they're going to be a Vikings fan now. It's like Favre has gotten bigger than the team and I think that's wrong.”

A back injury prevented Lane from playing football as a freshman but over the next three years he helped lead Iola-Scandinavia High School to three consecutive conference championships.

"Eddie George was actually my favorite player when I was growing up," Lane noted. "He was a 6-3 beast of a running back. And I thought maybe I could be like him. Unfortunately when I got to high school I was 6-5 and 160. So my dream of being a running back ended there. I played tight end, wide receiver and defensive end instead."

As a senior Lane caught 31 passes for 717 yards and 13 touchdowns while recording 14.5 sacks, 77 tackles, and five blocked punts as a defensive end. He also lettered in basketball and was a second team all-conference selection as a junior.

"I actually had some offers for basketball," he said. "North Dakota State and Winona State... But I didn't like the mentality of basketball. I was always getting fouls called on me. If I was in the game more than five minutes I'd have three fouls.

 "I did like dunking though. No one at our school had dunked in 10 years when I threw one down my sophomore year. I had 35 dunks my senior year. I had five in one game."

Of course Lane had even more offers for football. But he didn't even consider Murray State until late in the recruiting process.

“I didn't actually hear from MSU until a week before signing date,” he recalled. “My dream was to go to the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I visited every home game my senior year. And I thought that was where I was going to go but I never got an offer from them

“I looked at Winona State and Minnesota State and a week before signing date I chose Minnesota State. I liked the campus and the coaches and they were going to let me play wide receiver and tight end.

“Then I got a phone call from (former Racer assistant) coach (Rich) Nagy. UMass had been recruiting me and they told him he ought to check me out. As soon as he called I said that I was absolutely interested. I didn't even visit before signing. I thought Murray State was in New York.”