2017 NFL Draft: Austin Duke, Charlotte 49ers

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Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Austin. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself for the fans who are not familiar with you?

Austin Duke: No problem Justin. Austin Duke is a God fearing, high character, hardworking, talented & gifted young man. 

Justin David Kish: You played your college ball at Charlotte in North Carolina. Tell us about your time playing for the Charlotte 49ers?

Austin Duke: Charlotte is where I am from so I have a lot of pride & love for my city. The people at Charlotte are second to none. From the coaching staff, my teammates, athletic director, alumni and employees. Charlotte is a class act. Very exciting place to be. Building a program from the ground up is a tough task but Charlotte hired the right people. I always loved playing in front Niner Nation, win or lose, I loved it. I had record setting numbers but that wouldn’t be possible without coaches, teammates and family.

Justin David Kish: During your tenure you were coached by offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen and wide receivers coach Joe Tereshinski. How has the Charlotte coaching staff improve you as player during your tenure?

Austin Duke: Coach Mullen & Coach T really helped me with my mental toughness & my competitive edge. Also, the experience I was able to gain. They both allowed me to fail & succeed in a nurturing environment.

Justin David Kish: During your time with the team you were the team’s leading receiver each year you were there. How did it feel having such a big role with the offense?

Austin Duke: It was my job that I made my own. Aside from my individual goals & success. It was my duty & responsibility to do my job, be there for my teammates.

Justin David Kish: As a member of Charlotte you have seen this team go from the FCS level to the FBS level in your final season. What was the transition like making that leap in competition?

Austin Duke: The transition was smooth. It’s almost like JV & Varsity for college. Better teams, better competition means you have to raise your level of play.

Justin David Kish: During your time with Charlotte you played alongside quarterback Kevin Olsen. What kind of relationship do you guys have and will he be helping you prepare as you start to focus on the NFL Draft?

Austin Duke: Kevin is my boy! I am proud of the growth he has made as person more than as an athlete. He is coming into himself. His talent is undeniable. And sure, he has offered to help me through the process.

Justin David Kish: Like I mentioned Charlotte was a member of both the FCS and FBS level. When you look back at your career what was one game that really took you to your limits and brought out the best in you?

Austin Duke: At the FCS level I’d say Citadel. That game was a real shoot out. 63-56. I had over 250 yards receiving & 4 TDs. I just kept telling myself, “do your job and be there for you brothers”. At the FBS level I’d have to say Middle Tennessee 2016. It was a must win game after we fell to Rice. We had a slack 1st half and needed to pick it up the 2nd half. It was a moment of leadership for me. My teammates and myself made a few big plays to put us in position to win the game. 

Justin David Kish: Being a wide receiver you were pared up against opposing top cornerbacks in college football. What was one cornerback that you faced which was the toughest?

Austin Duke: Jhaire Alexander, University of Louisville.

Justin David Kish: During your time at Charlotte you created a number of memories with your brothers. What was one memory that really stands out from the rest?

Austin Duke: Our 1st conference USA win against FAU. We got to stay an extra night in Boca Raton, Florida. In a nice hotel!

Justin David Kish: What does it mean to be a Charlotte 49er?

Austin Duke: You’re a Niner for life. Character & education will take you further in life then your talents. Being a 49er means competing to win & respecting but not fearing your opponent. It’s an honor to be a Niner.

Justin David Kish: You are now shifting your focus on the 2017 NFL Draft. How has the early preparations for the draft been and who have you been training with?

Austin Duke: I am in Tampa, Florida training with Yo Murphy & Rediel Anthony at ASPI “The Performance Compound”. I have been to two all star games, both great opportunities for exposure and experience. Grateful for them both.

Justin David Kish: When you look at the 2017 NFL Draft class at wide receivers it has a number of star college wide outs including yourself. But what makes you standout from the rest?

Austin Duke: My speed, ability to learn a role/playbook and my maturity (experience). 

Justin David Kish: For the next couple of questions I am going to put you on the line. My first question. If you could compare yourself to any current professional football WR who would you compare yourself to and why?

Austin Duke: DeSean Jackson; Speed, big play capability, size & routes. Steve Smith; mentality & heart.

Justin David Kish: My final question. If I was an NFL General Manager why should I draft Austin Duke?

Austin Duke: You should draft Austin Duke for his speed, efficiency, maturity, coachable, ability to run routes/separate, his big play capability & his passion and work ethic for the game. He will do anything to help his team win & be apart of greatness. 

Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Austin. How can the fans reach out to you on social media?

Austin Duke: TheAus10Duke is my IG & Twitter.

Random 5 with Austin Duke

Do you have any guilty pleasures? I love Chilis Chipotle chicken tenders. Due to diet I’m not suppose to have them right now.

Do you have any pre-game rituals? Prayer, ladder drills, hand drill & catching.

Who do you think is the NFL MVP for 2016? Antonio Brown.

Who is the best wide receiver? Randall Cobb or Julian Edelman? Julian Edelman, small receivers are in!

Who is the best all-time wide receiver? Terrell Owens or Randy Moss? Wow! That’s tough & can go either way. They have both impacted this game & paved the way. Also they both would be upset if I picked lol.

Austin Duke Career Highlights

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