Talked with Nazareth Academy’s 2018 OLB Austin Reifsteck on what it’s like coming off back to back state championships, schools he’s kept in touch with and being a leader by doing whatever it takes to help his team win. Nazareth has a ton of talent in their ’18 and ’19 classes and will continue to be a team to watch over the next few seasons.
You can find Austin on Twitter @AReifsteck18.
LaGrange Park, IL
Wt: 225 lbs
Commitment status: Undecided
LPI: What were the most important things you did this offseason and are now doing in practice so you can improve this season?
AR: The most important thing I did in the offseason was working out and training for camps. I worked out 6 days a week to build strength for the upcoming season. In addition to weight training, I improved my speed and agility tremendously with the help of Mr. Boatright at Blue Chip in Plainfield, Illinois. In practice, I play in many positions other than my true position to improve myself. Defensively, I am a starter at linebacker but I play every position on the D line because I am capable of going up against the large offensive linemen. Offensively, I am a wing in a few of our offensive sets, but I play running back, fullback, and receiver to further myself athletically and to understand offenses better.
LPI: You don’t have any offers at the moment, but you’re on a mission to prove to schools that you can play at the next level. What are your greatest strengths or why should a school offer you?
AR: I truly believe my strengths are that I am a student of the game. I review film religiously to improve myself and my team. Put aside all of the physical attributes that make me a good football player, I think one of my greatest qualities is my leadership skills. Leading by example, and display a positive attitude at all times regardless of what is going on allows me to help motivate everyone around me. I am very coachable and I am willing to do whatever the team needs me to do to be successful. If this means that I have to play down as a defensive tackle, I will. I use these situations to challenge myself to win every battle.
LPI: Offer or not, which schools have you kept in contact with the most?
AR: Well, I have sent out numerous emails with my introduction and film to spark up conversation. But, out of all the colleges I have visited whether it being from camps or unofficial visits, Northern Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, and West Virginia are the schools that I am currently very interested in. The other schools that I am interested in but haven’t visited or attended a camp are NC State, Iowa, and many MAC, Ivy and Patriot League schools. I have had small talk with Northern Illinois and I love what they are doing their as a program. I have been gathering the schools that I believe I would best fit at and now that I have enough film on me, I can show them what I am capable of and why I would be a good fit in their program.
LPI: Where have you visited most recently and do you have any visits coming up?
AR: My most recent visit was at Northern Illinois on September 17th for an unofficial visit against San Diego State. Despite losing, I was very impressed with the facilities and the atmosphere. At this point, I am currently looking to setup more visits.
LPI: What’re your personal goals for this season?
AR: My personal goal this season is to be as much as an impact player on my team as I can be and to continue to grow on my leadership skills. Another goal would be to become a better athlete so I can play at the next level.
LPI: You guys are now 2-3 this year coming off back to back state titles. Do you and your team feel any pressure to perform with those 2 consecutive state championships?
AR: I believe many of us believe that we are entitled to be like the last 2 championship teams. Even I believed that we should be. But in these past 4 weeks I have learned that we are the 2016 Nazareth Roadrunners, not 2014 or 2015 Nazareth Roadrunners. Win or not as long as we give max effort, full speed in every game, we will be a great team.
LPI: What have you guys been doing more now than ever so you can make another deep run in the playoffs?
AR: We have been studying film and taking more time to learn our opponents schemes so we can be better prepared for the game. Taking more time to do these things allows us to read and react quicker.
LPI: You guys have quality players in yourself, Devonte Dunn and Chris Sampleton that have been getting recruiting attention. Who are some of your other teammates that you believe have a chance to play at the next level, but may be getting overlooked by college coaches?
AR: The one person that I strongly believe is being overlooked is Senior Cameron Weems. He is an outstanding player and and never gives up. To me, he is a silent leader. He doesn’t express leadership through words, but through actions on and off the field. His main strength is the ability to stay poised when he is under pressure, allowing him to play with confidence. I believe he has what it takes to play defensive back at the next level.