By Skye Hopkins
When it came to continuing his football career, Humboldt State was not Jamere Austin’s first choice. But now that he is here, his positive mindset is helping him make the best of it. As a new HSU football recruit, Jamere Austin is a 22-year-old junior who traveled from the San Fernando Valley this spring semester to major in communications.
“I bought a plane ticket, but didn’t know which school I was going to,” Austin said. “I went to the airport and decided to come to Humboldt.”
Austin started his college career at Los Angeles Pierce College where he played wide receiver. Considering a handful of the boys were from Austin’s hometown, he was excited to play with familiar faces. The coach that Austin originally spoke with before joining the Pierce Bulls left before the season even began leaving several of the players a little confused.
“First season was bad,” Austin said. “We went three and seven.”
With Pierce’s reputation of getting several players to higher division football schools, Austin was only focused on getting ready for the next season. He worked hard during the summer with close to no “off-days.” His sophomore year, they ended up going 5 and 5.
“We were a good team,” Austin said. “But things got sad.”
He described his sophomore year as the year that changed his head about football for the better. His views and ideas around the game itself were more clear and his technique got better. During week six of that year, Austin received his first offer. Within a few weeks, he had 16 Division II offers.
He committed to Lindenwood University in Missouri a little after the season ended. Through the second semester of his sophomore year, Austin received several more offers and ended up committing to Southeastern Louisiana, a Division I school. However, the admissions department was hesitant to admit him because of a statistics class that had to be completed. Unfortunately, he did not end up passing the class. He was lucky enough to get a chance the retake the class, but with no luck. His spot was passed on during the annual recruiting process.
“I knew it was time to start back up,” Austin said. “So I wrote a little letter explaining my situation and posted it on social media.”
He picked up roughly ten Division II offers, and with only one week to decide, he narrowed it down to Humboldt State and Midwestern State in Texas.
After a spontaneous decision to make the trip to Humboldt, Austin was on campus speaking with Head Coach Rob Smith before he knew it. However, for Austin it seemed like if it was not one thing, it was another. Humboldt’s admission office did not approve his acceptance. It took three weeks for Humboldt’s administration and coaching staff to inform Austin that he would not be able to continue his classes for the 2016 fall semester.
With yet another detour, Austin began to feel extremely discouraged. He was already settled in to the small town, the positive energies of the HSU campus, and the welcoming manners from his teammates and coaches. Having to start over or even take a few steps back once again was not on his agenda.
“Honestly, I started crying,” Austin said. “It just didn’t make sense. They told me I could come here, so I came and then just like that, I had to go back home.”
Austin’s roommate, Jonathan Charles, was not too happy about his denial either. It looked like he would not get the chance to play a third college football season with his good friend and roommate.
“Man was I bummed out,” Charles said. “My boy had to go all the way back home with no football in sight and I was stuck in a two-bedroom house with no Jamere.”
Through those first few discouraging weeks spent back in the San Fernando Valley, Austin altered his focus and began to work rather than practice.
“I was on a grind,” Austin said. “A money grind, but in the back of my head I still saw Humboldt.”
Austin was not ready to only work and not play. He attended the Jacks away game against Azusa Pacific in September and kept in touch with the coaches, especially the wide receiver coach Nick Williams. Ex-roommate Joc was extremely happy about seeing Austin at a 2016 season game.
With more time off and room to improve, Austin continued to work and picked up a few more offers. The same day he was offered by Division I Double A School Southern Illinois, he received a call from Humboldt State.
HSU’s football staff asked when Austin was coming back. Austin was stuck between another warm welcome from Humboldt and a Division I offer from Southern Illinois. He knew the recruiting process would be long with Illinois but he wasn’t sure if Humboldt would let him in again. He had less than a week to make a decision and after making a list of the pros and cons, Austin sent his letter of intent to Humboldt State University.
“Everything was right,” Austin said. “Not too much trouble to get into. I knew it was a small spot where I could focus and get things done.”
With over two years of ups and downs throughout the recruiting process, Jamere Austin was proud to announce his commitment to Humboldt State with excitement to play in the 2017 fall season.
Wide receiver coach Nick Williams was thrilled about the newest addition to their offensive team. Several coaches witnessed Austin’s passion and motivation for football and did not want to miss the opportunity of having him on the team.
“We really wanted Jamere,” Williams said. “We needed him to be here.”
Austin has been able to continue his football and academic career at Humboldt during the spring semester and will be returning with enthusiasm for the upcoming fall semester. He has been maintaining good grades as well as working hard in hopes of keeping his vibrant presence as a player for the Lumberjacks. He is expected to do well during this upcoming season and several classmates, professors and family members are excited to see how far he has come and what he has to bring to the table.
“Jamere brings a great energy to not just the wide receiver group, but the team as a whole,” coach Williams said. “He is a natural football player and his foot is always on the gas. I like that he is just so excited to be here; he physically, mentally, and emotionally puts everything into anything he does.”