November 26, 2008

Small-town quarterback making a big name

In Steamboat Springs (Colo.), quarterback Austin Hinder is starting to make a big name for himself in a town with a population that is a shade below 10,000. His work on the field has schools across the nation interested in his college potential.

"I am just a really strong competitor, and I have really good arm strength," Hinder said. "I have always been a quarterback, so I have a lot of experience behind it. Coming out of a small town like Steamboat, you have to work extra hard because you have to be good for them to find you."

Although he is only a junior, this 2010 recruit has racked up four early offers from California, Stanford, Nebraska and Kansas State. According to the quarterback, he is receiving letters from schools throughout the Pac-10 and the Big 12 including Missouri.

"I actually have gotten quite a good amount of letters from them (Missouri) to my coach at my school, and then I have not really talked to any of the coaching staff yet," he said. "That's a great school. My interest is as high as in all the other schools. My grandpa lives in Missouri, and I am very interested in Mizzou and the spread offense they run."

Hinder said he cannot remember specifically when he started playing football, but he can remember even playing flag football as a child. Part of this football background stems from a family member.

"My grandfather was an NFL coach for a really long time," the quarterback said. "He was a coach with the St. Louis Rams for a good 15 years. He had a major influence on my life and with football."

When looking at potential colleges, Hinder said that the most important thing is not staying at home, but finding the school that offers him the greatest opportunity. Because of this, he said that he would take a good look at a school's depth chart.

That (depth chart) is one of the main things that I look for," Hinder said. "I know that they (Missouri) just got Blaine Gabbert, who I personally met, and he is going to be a great quarterback no question about it. That is definitely something I am looking at. He is going to be the starter for the next couple of years, and I am competitor, but he is pretty high up there on the depth chart."

In some sense, however, Hinder said going to school with Gabbert could also be a positive experience.

"He is going to be a great quarterback, and I know he knows the offense well," the junior said. "I am really interested in Mizzou because I can go into that and have him as a mentor for me."

Hinder and his team finished their season with an 8-3 mark and played well throughout the year according to the quarterback. The 6-foot-5 quarterback was able to throw for around 1,600 yards, which included 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also rushed for over 600 yards and found the end zone nine times.

Even with these impressive numbers, there is always room for improvement he said.

"I don't think you can have good enough footwork," he said. "Footwork is always one thing to work on, and leadership is also important. I am going to start to take high notes in that role this upcoming season when I am a senior. Just improving everything like getting to read defenses better."

For now, Hinder will continue to try and improve his game and participate in camps such as the U.S. Army All-American combine. He also plans on taking a few visits.

"I know that I am going to visit Cal and Stanford and a few others, but I am going to leave a few spots open right now because I am not positive," Hinder said. "I could receive a few more offers, and I will have to narrow down my list for an official visit."

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