Ottawa High School senior Austyn McFadden made strides during his high school football career. He has developed into an impact player with his work in the weight room and on the driving range.
McFadden built up his muscles and became a chiseled missile on the field as a senior.
“He’s made as much progress from year to year as any player I’ve had,” said Ottawa soccer coach Walt Alexander. “He has really made progress. He is lean, strong and fast ”.
These attributes led to college recruiters knocking on his door after his senior season. McFadden once, never thought college football was in his future.
“Up until my senior year, I doubted I would ever be able to play college football,” said McFadden. “I decided to take up the challenge and make it my goal.”
He started in the offseason between his junior and senior seasons.
“A lot of his physique,” McFadden said of his improvement. “It was going into the weight room and training well. This is what separates good players from great players. “McFadden’s football career took a major turn when the coaching staff put him on the defensive line against Paola. He took it really well.
“When the coach let me go play defense, he lit a fire for me,” said McFadden. “He proved that I had something to prove. I would make the most of every opportunity.
“Trainer [Pat] Boeh, he’s a great coach. He is always willing to help me with schemes, blitzes and stunts.
Alexander said McFadden became a stud on defense because of his athletic talent and willingness to learn.
“It has a great engine,” said Alexander. “He’s probably a better D-lineman than an O-lineman. He cares and loves football. He plays with passion. “The college coaches liked what they saw of McFadden as a defensive end. After the season, he made a few college visits and settled down at MidAmerica Nazarene in nearby Olathe.
“It felt like home,” McFadden said. “You walk in and feel appreciated. The coaching staff is fantastic. They have a great program. They really welcomed me and my family. This is the big reason why I chose MidAmerica. All the coaching staff are great guys. Most of them have played NFL football. They welcomed me with open arms.”
McFadden said the Pioneers were impressed with his speed and size, football IQ and athletic potential and ability.
“In the end, it’s about playing football,” McFadden said. I liked going somewhere where I can still build my foundation and grow as a Christian. I’m happy that I can grow up somewhere in a great program with great people.
“I met some guys and we talked [on the visit]. They are great athletes. I’m always looking for new people to help build this program. They are built on hard work. For them, it’s all about winning. Last year, we were one win away from being conference champions.”
Alexander said it’s great that someone like McFadden can fulfill a dream and charge for a large part of his education.
“You wanted to see him have a chance,” said Alexander. “When your heart is as good as his, all coaches can work with that. College football at any level is so challenging. You better love him.
McFadden is already trying to get bigger, stronger and faster before he hits the MidAmerica campus.
“My coach wants me to put on some weight,” McFadden said. “I would like to gain weight. I have to put 15 to 20 pounds. I am coming back from an ACL injury. It’s not to stop me though.
“I will work a lot on mobility. My hips could move a little better.