After becoming a second-round draft selection in 2011, New York Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin has done little to justify the investment general manager Jerry Reese made in him. After missing all of 2011 with a torn pectoral muscle, Austin played in just eight games this past season and found himself buried on the depth chart. The team's 2012 seventh-round draft selection, Markus Kuhn (when healthy) saw significantly more playing time than Austin.
Although Austin was a highly touted prospect coming out of UNC, the predominant issue with his selection was that he sat out his final season due to NCAA sanctions. The sanctions that forced Austin to miss all of the 2010 season appeared to be the conclusion of an lengthy investigation that raised serious questions regarding the involvement of agents in college sports. However, Austin is still dealing with the repercussions of the NCAA's inquiry into the UNC football program, as the North Carolina Secretary of State is conducting their own investigation into the scandal. Through that investigation, Austin has revealed that he received $2,000 from agent Terry Watson during his time at UNC.
"Terry Watson was a guy who gave me money," Austin told state investigators in reference to Terry Shawn Watson, of the Watson Sports Agency registered in Marietta, Georgia.
Austin was the very first player to be ostracized for taking impermissible benefits from outside sources at UNC. However, he certainly was not the last. Since that time, several other players have been indicated in the scandal, including current Giants wideout Hakeem Nicks, who will have all his receiving records at UNC marked with as asterisk.
Ultimately, Austin needs to stop talking about the events that tarnished his college career and focus on what it takes to become a successful professional football player. He has only seen limited action in eight football games over the last three seasons, which has stunted his development more than many expected. However, it's hard to deny the raw talent and athleticism he still possess. If he can put those abilities on display in training camp this summer, we may see him on the roster in 2013. If not, it may be time to write him off as one of the few draft picks Reese has missed on.
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