LOOKING AT THE 2010 NFL DRAFT SLEEPERS
MURRAY STATE STAR IN THE RIGHT LANE TO THE NFL
By Dave-Te’ Thomas, The NFL Draft Report
For those that have read my scouting reports on NFLdraftscout.com, Cbssportsline.com and NFL.com, you know I pull no punches when it comes to evaluating talent. While the NFL Draft has become the second-biggest media event by the league, outside the Super Bowl, draftniks are always on the lookout for the “hidden talents” in the collegiate ranks. Over the next few months, I will take you on a trip through the NCAA to introduce you to the Rip Van Winkles, the Super Sleepers, the players that may not be well-known to the “draft nation,” but are sure to make their marks in the NFL training camps next year.
Most of the attention in the state of Kentucky has been directed at the troubles of basketball powerhouses, Louisville and Kentucky, where both coaches are under the microscope for their, ahem, off-field activities. NFL scouts are bypassing both of those campuses and are making a bee-line to “Blue Grass” country to see one of the best athletes in the FCS ranks, Murray State’s standout defensive end, Austen Lane.
What they are all seeing is a player in the mold of New York Giants standout pass rushers, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora. Lane has the lateral agility, balance and foot speed that Kiwanuka possesses, showing excellent pass coverage skills that could see some team line him up at strong-side linebacker on occasion. He has the long frame with deceptive power and that keen sense for the flow of the ball that Tuck features in his game. He also demonstrates that explosive first step, hand usage and urgency getting to the quarterback that Umenyiora has utilized in ranking with the elite sack artists in the league.
Scouts also see an unassuming player with a team-first work ethic, one that has been a mentor for the Racers’ younger players to emulate. While he may be a “yes sir, no sir” type in his everyday life, Lane is the closest thing to Clark Kent/Superman on game day. He arrives at the stadium like a mild-mannered reporter, but when he steps out of that telephone booth to enter the playing field, many opposing offensive linemen realize that the man standing in front of them is about to put an “S” on his jersey and a red cape on his back, as the Murray State defender shows that he is faster than a speeding bullet with his explosion into the backfield, more powerful than a locomotive with his ability to easily split double teams and able to leap unprepared offensive tackles with a single bound, evident by his 23 sacks, 43.5 stops for loss and 28 QB pressures to date.
AUSTEN D. LANE Defensive End Murray State University Racers
#97 6:06.2-272 Iola, Wisconsin Iola-Sandinavia High School
The once-lanky 220-pound Wisconsin native is the product of Murray State’s off-season program, having added close to fifty pounds of bulk and muscle to his frame since arriving on campus as a freshman. As he continued to mature physically, he began to show flashes of brilliance as a pass rusher, coming into his own during a banner junior campaign.
Lane would go on to lead the Ohio Valley Conference and rank fourth in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in both quarterback sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimmage in 2008. His 12.0 sacks and 22.0 stops for loss established new school season-records. He also tied the Racers game-record with 3.5 sacks in the Southeast Missouri State clash. To date, his 23.0 quarterback sacks rank and 43.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage rank second in school history.
Lane’s impressive junior season performances elevated his ranking in the NCAA record books. His average of 1.176 tackles for loss per game is the best career total by a Racer or Ohio Valley Conference player and places him 19th on the NCAA FCS all-time record list. His average of 0.622 sacks per game also leads the team and conference while listing tied for 14th on the FCS record chart.
Murray State greatly benefited from Lane’s ability to attack the opposing backfield. They finished second in the league and 33rd in the nation with an average of 2.25 quarterback sacks per game in 2008, compared to 1.55 sacks per game in 2007 (MSU placed 83rd in the nation and sixth in the OVC that year).
The Racers also placed 24th nationally with an average of 6.92 tackles for loss per game, an improvement from their 99th place ranking in 2007 (5.09 tpg). With Lane dominating the trenches, Murray State’s defense finished second in the conference, allowing just 328.42 yards per game in 2008 after giving up an average of 446.36 yards per game during his sophomore season.
Lane was a two-sport standout at Iola-Sandinavia High School, where he played on both sides of the ball for the football team. As a senior, he registered 14.5 quarterback sacks as a defensive end and also caught 31 passes for 717 yards (23.1 avg) and thirteen touch-downs as a wide receiver.
That effort earned Lane All-Conference and All-Region offensive and defensive honors. He was also named All-State first-team on defense and was an honorable mention offensive choice. That year, he also recorded 134 tackles (77 solos), as he recovered four fumbles and blocked five kicks during his final campaign. He added two letters for the Thunder-birds’ basketball team, earning second-team All-Conference accolades in 2004-05.
Lane arrived on Murray State’s campus as a 220-pound freshman in 2006. The Journalism major started nine of the ten games he appeared in that year, lining up at right defensive end. He recorded 34 tackles (11 solos) with 2.5 sacks and also blocked a pair of extra point attempts.
As a sophomore, Lane, now standing at 228 pounds,started all ten games he played in, finishing sixth on the team with 48 tackles (28 solos). His 3.5 sacks and 8.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage ranked second among Racers defenders, as he again used his excellent leaping ability to excel on special teams, blocking the third kick of his career.
Lane added more than twenty pounds of bulk before reporting to fall camp in 2008. The 250-pounder earned All-American and All-Ohio Valley Conference honors for the first time in his career. He set school game and season-records for sacks, finishing the campaign fourth in the nation after dropping quarterbacks twelve times for minus 108 yards.
Lane also set the MSU annual record with 22.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He recovered three fumbles, caused two others and blocked the fourth kick during his time with the Racers. His hard-hitting tackling style resulted in seven turnovers by the opposition, as he also registered 21 stops on third-down plays and three more on fourth-down action.
Entering his final campaign, Lane was recently named an All-American first-team pre-season choice. He is regarded as the best defensive prospect in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision ranks and was named the preseason favorite to garner FCS National Defensive Player of the Year honors. The Buck Buchanan Award nominee recorded 30 tackles (10 solos) through the first five games of 2009. He is tied for seventh in the nation and leads the Ohio Valley Conference with an average of 1.8 tackles for loss per game. His average of 1.00 quarterback sacks per game lead the OVS and places him in a tenth-place tie nationally.
In 37 games at Murray State, Lane started 34 contests, recording 175 tackles (80 solos)… His 23.0 sacks for minus 157 yards are topped only by Anthony Hutch (28.0 sacks, 1992-96) in school history…His 12.0 sacks in 2008 broke the previous Racers season-record of 10.5, first set by Anthony Hutch in 1996 and matched by Marcus Stepp in 1998…His 3.5 sacks vs. Southeast Missouri in 2008 tied the MSU game-record that was first established by Anthony Hutch vs. Tennessee-Martin in 1996…Added three sacks in the 2009 Missouri State clash, becoming the first Racer to register at least three sacks in a game more than once in a career…His average of 1.176 tackles for loss per game is the best career total by a Racer or Ohio Valley Conference player and places him 19th on the NCAA FCS all-time record list…His average of 0.622 sacks per game also leads the team and conference while listing tied for 14th on the FCS career-record chart…His 43.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses totaling 219 yards rank second in school history, topped by Anthony Hutch (44.0, 1995-96)…Lane’s 22.0 stops for loss in 2008 set the Murray State season-record, surpassing the previous mark of 19.0 tackles behind the line of scrimmage by Kent Lapa in 1987…His 4.0 stops for loss vs. Southeast Missouri State in 2008 rank fourth on the school game-record list behind Anthony Hutch (5.5 vs. Tennessee-Martin in 1996 and 5.0 vs. Western Kentucky in 1995) and Sam Franklin (5.0 vs. Western Kentucky in 1977)… Lane has recorded 28 quarterback pressures with five forced fumbles, as he registered three fumble recoveries, deflected five passes and blocked four kicks.
SCOUTING REPORT… GENERAL REPORT-Grade-6.62
Body Structure Lane has a long torso, with impressive arm length, big hands, well developed legs, with good thigh and calf thickness. He has added needed weight during the 2007 off-season, but his frame can carry at least another fifteen pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness. He is a well-proportioned athlete with good upper body muscle development. He has good shoulder size and width, big bubble and tight waist and hips.
Athletic Ability Lane has outstanding quickness and plays with a high motor to defeat blocks. He has the hip flexibility to drop back in pass coverage, reminding some of the Giants’ Mathias Kiwanuka when he does so. He has enough quickness to run with the tight ends and backs down the seam ands very good change of direction agility. He demonstrates good balance and superb lateral movement working down the line (see 2009 Missouri State and 2008 Illinois State and SE Missouri games). He also plays excellent intensity. He is fluid when redirecting and does a very good job of staying on his feet. He has an above average burst off the edge and shows acceleration when working in space. With his long reach, it is rare to see him struggle when disengaging inside, and he uses his hands very well to prevent from getting pushed back vs. the larger offensive tackles…GRADE-6.9
Football Sense Lane shows very good instincts coming off the snap and a feel for blocking schemes, but will get a bit reckless with the snap cadence (offside issues in 2008). Still, he has good awareness on the field and his motor never stops. He is relentless in pursuit and the type that will never give up on a play. He shows the ability to take the plays from the board to the field. He is quick to read and react to outside run plays and has the vision to find the ball and close with good urgency…GRADE-6.5
Character Lane is a very tough player who pushes himself and others. He is a good program type with obvious leadership skills and the team seems to feed off his play on the field. He has no known off-field issues and gets good family support…GRADE-6.3
Competitiveness Lane has outstanding toughness and his motor never quits. He will give a consistent effort throughout the game and has come through with numerous clutch plays. He competes just as hard in practices and in the weight room as he does during games. He is savvy enough to know how to use his hands to discard blockers rather than try to get into long one-on-one battles with them. He shows good urgency and closing speed chasing down ball carriers and is a nasty, aggressive battler vs. double teams. He makes plays because of his “take no prisoners” attitude on the field…GRADE-6.7
Work Habits Lane has good work ethic and is a tough kid who will play through most injuries. He chases until the whistle and is a coachable and solid team leader, whether leading by example or through his play. He competes hard, is very accountable and dependable, according to the coaching staff, serving as a team captain. He is a good worker on the field and in the class room. He is not the type that needs the coach to pat him on the back. His added bulk before the 2008 season showed the dedication he has in attempts to play better and compete at a high level… GRADE-6.7
Explosion/Pursuit Lane is a player with outstanding initial quickness (1.51 in the 10-yard dash). He utilizes that speed consistently in attempts to gain advantage and with his high motor, he easily gets off blocks to make plays at the line of scrimmage or chasing down action in the backfield (see 2009 Kentucky Wesleyan and Missouri State and 2008 Illinois State, Jacksonville State, SE Missouri and Tennessee State games). He is explosive out of his stance, and very quick to close on the ball. Because of his size, he has that reach to keep outside blockers off his body and also the ability to split double teams when working in-line to get through traffic. He is quick to engage the offensive tackles and tight ends and has a very good feel for blocking schemes. While field fast in the short area, he flashes some cat-like quickness covering tight ends in the short area, especially when reacting to movement. He is rarely late off the snap at the X’s, but sometimes gets a little too eager to penetrate, resulting in costly penalties (see 2008 UT-Martin and SE Missouri games), but he quickly learns from his miscues…GRADE-7.0
Strength at Point From a sheer strength point, Lane has more natural power than weight room figures indicate. He generates a good jolt in his hips and hands to rock the offensive tackle back on his heels during the bull rush. He has enough speed and explosion to get an edge. Despite his lanky frame, he is stronger than he looks, as he plays with leverage and keeps his pads down, making it tough to block him head-on. He rarely ever getswashed by down blocks and keeps his hands active to prevent from getting overpowered by double teams when heading up the gut. He is best coming off the edge, but when he starts “playing games” with the offensive tackle rather than try to locate the ball, he can get widened and steered in both phases (pass and run). He has the leverage to hold up at the point of attack, but is more effective on the move…GRADE-6.3
Use of Hands Lane fights pressure and uses his hands well disengage and transfer on the block. He gets his hands on the blocker immediately and does a steady job of keeping blockers off his body with his hand extension. The thing you notice on film is his ability to play with leverage and control blocks. When working in trash, he does a nice job of executing rip/club/swim moves, knowing how to mix them up to prevent from getting too predictable battling the linemen. Even when he gets tangled up at the Xs, he has the hip swerve and balance to escape and get back in the play…GRADE-6.2
Lateral Pursuit/Effort Lane is fluid in his change of direction and lateral movement, as he works hard to keep his feet and play with leverage and explosion. He has enough acceleration to skate, string plays out and catch a play from behind, doing a solid job in backdoor plays. He fights to collapse and get to the ball, getting a good push off the edge. With his lateral movement, quickness and high motor, he is a big factor when playing down the line of scrimmage and keeping containment vs. outside runs (see 2009 Missouri State and Eastern Kentucky and 2008 Lambuth, Illinois State, Austin Peay and SE Missouri games)…GRADE-6.8
Tackling Ability Lane has the strength, arm length and reach to hit, wrap and secure. He will square up and wrap, thanks to his above average hip explosion. He plays with a good pad level and despite his lanky frame, he usually holds up well at the point of attack. If he fails to penetrate, he will make a determined effort to string the play out. In the short area, he has enough arm strength to lock up and take out the outside leg of the ball carrier to prevent forward progression after the collision. He follows through the plays in front of him with good balance and on plays against plays on his side, you rarely ever see him gather before redirecting…GRADE-6.0
Run Defense Lane has that tireless motor and quickness, along with good hand placement to generally get a piece of the ball carrier (41.5 tackles for loss for his career, along with stopping runners at the line of scrimmage for no gain 19 times in his last 25 games). He plays better on the move, as he is more productive when stunting and has made marked improvements with his anchor and read ability. He uses his hands with quick, strong swipes to disengage when facing the larger blockers head-on, and he will never give up on the play. He might get stuck on big bodies when working in-line, at times, but shows good athleticism with balance and body control to keep his feet vs. low blocks…GRADE-7.2
Pass Rush Lane’s high motor and quickness, along with his hand usage has made him one of the most feared pass rushers in the FCS. He flashes above average leverage and leg drive when trying to bull rush at the X’s and demonstrates excellent timing, especially with his spin move. With his quickness, he is best off the edge, where he can use his speed to bend the corner. He uses the bull rush with effective rip, swim and club moves. He is also effective on counter moves, as he looks very fluid spinning. He plays low and pumps his legs to get the leverage he needs on the edge…GRADE-7.3
Closing on the QB Lane is a high energy type whose quickness makes him better than most defensive ends at any level. He is a high motor type who uses his speed to get to the quarterback (see 2009 Kentucky Wesleyan and Missouri State and 2008 Illinois State, Austin Peay and SE Missouri games). He can really run, and chases hard to close, demonstrating good impact when he makes contact with the larger and stronger blockers. He flattens quickly and has the suddenness to come up and under, but needs to work on getting through inside trash better. When he breaks free, Lane shows the quickness to close, as he takes dead aim on the passer. While the school does not keep good records in this category, he is very good at flushing and applying pressure (school has short-changed him 20 QB hurries in the last three years)…GRADE-6.7
Instincts/Recognition Lane is a quick read-&-react type with very good eyes for blocking schemes and backfield activity. He shows valid instincts locating the ball, along with a good feel for blocks and where they are coming from. He is more like the Giants’ Justin Tuck as an edge rusher, as he has the field smarts to know not only where he should be positioned, but also where his teammates should be. The Murray State system requires their players to use their brains. Lane is very effective at doing so…GRADE-6.5
Compares To JUSTIN TUCK-New York Giants…Lane is actually a combination of all three of the Giants’ standout defensive ends. He has the pass coverage/drop back ability of Mathia Kiwanuka and that relentless motor Tuck displays that generally frees up the other linemen. He is relentless applying pressure to the pocket and like Osi Umenyiora, he has that keen vision and change of direction skills to give chase on the move in attempts to shut down the outside running game.
All-American first-team preseason selection by The NFL Draft Report and Consensus Draft Services…Rated the best defensive prospect in the NCAA FCS ranks by The NFL Draft Report, a scouting information bureau used by the league…Consensus Draft Services also named Lane the favorite to win FCS National Defensive Player of the Year…Added All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team and OVC Defensive Player of the Year preseason honors… The defensive team captain was recently named to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List, an honor given to the top defensive performer at the Football Championship Subdivision level…Started the first five games at right defensive end, recording 30 tackles (10 solos), as he is tied for seventh in the nation and leads the Ohio Valley Conference with an average of 1.8 tackles for loss per game…His average of 1.00 quarterback sacks per game lead the OVS and places him in a tenth-place tie nationally…Registered five sacks for minus 14 yards, 9.0 stops for losses totaling 25 yards and six QB pressures…Caused two fumbles…On 29 running plays directed at him, the opposition gained only 12 yards (0.41 ypc), as he stopped ball carriers at the line of scrimmage six times and made two third-down stops and one fourth-down tackle vs. the ground attack…Added six third-down stops, as the opposition completed just 1-of-14 pass attempts (7.14%) into his area for minus 3 yards, as Lane rerouted/jammed receivers on seven of those throws…Posted six of his hits inside the red zone, including two on goal-line plays.
2009 GAME ANALYSIS
Kentucky Wesleyan…The defensive captain took center stage in the season opener, coming up with eight tackles (3 solos) with two stops for minus 5 yards, as he forced a fumble that was recovered by Murray State for a touchdown and added four pressures, including one that caused an interception…After pressuring Travis Walker into throwing an incomplete pass, Lane caused a fumble when he slammed the QB to the ground for a 2-yard loss on a bootleg. Strong safety Harry McCall recovered the ball at midfield, racing 50 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter…On a third-&-7 snap during KWC’s next drive, Lane pressured Walker out of the pocket, causing an interception as cornerback Nathan Brinkley picked off the ill-advised toss, setting up a Murray State 40-yard field goal…The defensive end killed a second quarter possession, pressuring Walker on a third-&-2 incomplete pass to bring out the opponent’s punt unit…He tackled Walker at the line of scrimmage for no gain and on the next snap, third-&-2, Lane slipped past KWC’s illegal shift, as he sniffed out a screen pass, bringing down Vincent Lalonde for a 3-yard loss midway through the second frame…Lalonde tried an end-around in the third quarter, but Lane met the receiver at the line of scrimmage for no gain…Record Watch- Lane’s two tackles behind the line of scrimmage increased his career total to 36.0 stops for loss, tying Chris Vaughn (1995-98) for second in school history…Head to Head Competition-OT#52-Levi Ray (6:00-254)…Lane Defensive Impact-The defensive end made seven of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 11 yards (1.57 ypc), adding two stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he caused a fumble that was recovered by MSU for a touchdown and made three tackles of ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain, including one on a third-down play…Against the pass, the opposition completed 1-of-5 passes (20.00%) targeted into his area for minus 3 yards, as he had one stop for a loss, made four third-down plays and had four QB pressures, including one that caused an interception…The defense allowed 152 yards and one touchdown on 54 carries (2.81 ypc), and 164 total yards on 75 plays (2.19 yards per attempt).
North Carolina State…Lane had a “quiet” day, as he delivered just three tackles, but he rerouted receivers away from pass attempts three times, including twice on third-down snaps and also recorded his first sack for the season…In the first quarter, Lane met tailback James Washington at the line of scrimmage, taking the State player down for no gain…Late in the second quarter, he twice jammed tight end George Bryan on pass attempts from Russell Wilson, including one on a third-&-16 incomplete toss, as he sandwiched those two hurries around his 1-yard sack of Wilson at the MSU 39…Record Watch-Lane’s first sack for 2009 gave him 37.0 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for his career, surpassing Chris Vaughn (36.0, 1995-98) for sole possession of second place on the school all-time record list…Lane’s sack gave him nineteen for his career, breaking his second-place tie with Marcus Stepp (1997-98) on the Racers’ career-record chart… Head to Head Competition-OT#73-Julian Williams (6:05-309)…Lane Defensive Impact-The defensive end made three of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 6 yards (2.00 ypc), adding one stop behind the line of scrimmage, as he made one tackle of ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain…Against the pass, the opposition completed 0-of-3 passes (00.00%) targeted into his area, as he had made two third-down plays and rerouted receivers away from three incomplete passes…The defense allowed 172 yards and three touchdowns on 54 carries (3.19 ypc), and 346 total yards on 70 plays (4.94 yards per attempt).
Missouri State…Lane earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors from The NFL Draft Report after he registered three sacks among his eight tackles (4 solos) that included a crucial fourth-down stop…QB Cody Kirby was sacked for a 1-yard loss by the defensive end at the 14:18 mark of the second quarter and 8:43 before halftime, he again took the QB down on another 1-yard sack…MSU tried a fourth-&-11 pass in the fourth quarter, but Lane burst past offensive tackle Bob Shapel to sack Kirby for a 3-yard loss at the Racers’ 17…
Record Watch-Lane’s three sacks rank third on the school game-record list, topped by his own 3.5 sacks vs. Southeast Missouri in 2007 and Anthony Hutch’s 3.5 sacks vs. Tennessee-Martin in 1996…He is the only player in school history to register three or more sacks in a game more than once in a career…His three sacks were the most by a Southern Conference player in a game since Katon Bethay of Wofford registered four sacks vs. Virginia Military Institute in 2005…Those sacks increased his tackle for loss total to 40.0, ranking behind only Anthony Hutch (44.0, 1995-98) in school history…Head to Head Competition-OT#75-Bob Shapel (6:04-302)…Lane Defensive Impact-The defensive end made eight of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to 2 yards (0.25 ypc), adding three stops behind the line of scrimmage (all sacks), as he made one fourth-down tackle… Against the pass, the opposition completed 0-of-2 passes (00.00%) targeted into his area, as he rerouted receivers away from two incomplete passes…The defense allowed 191 yards and five touchdowns on 48 carries (3.98 ypc), and 484 total yards on 77 plays (6.29 yards per attempt).
Eastern Kentucky…Lane continued to wreak havoc in the opposition’s backfield, as he caused a fumble, made 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and totaled six tackles…
He tackled tailback C.J. Walker for no gain on a run in the first quarter and chased down QB T.J. Pryor for no gain on a second quarter bootleg…His late first quarter stunt caused his blocking assignment, Derek Hardman, to get flagged for jumping offside…In the third stanza, he beat Hardman off the snap to tackle Walker for a 3-yard loss at the EKU 30…In the final quarter, he slammed tailback Tony Jackson to the ground for a 5-yard loss, as the runner fumbled the ball, but quickly recovered it at the EKU 15…Head to Head Competition-OT#77-Derek Hardman (6:06-304)…Lane Defensive Impact-The defensive end made six of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to minus 3 yards (-0.50 ypc), adding two stops behind the line of scrimmage…The defense allowed 169 yards and no touchdowns on 44 carries (3.84 ypc), and 392 total yards on 73 plays (5.37 yards per attempt).
Jacksonville State…Lane was the lone bright spot for a defense that yielded a season-high 580 yards in a 41-7 loss, as the defensive end posted five tackles with a sack, also assisting on another stop behind the line of scrimmage while generating two pressures, including one that caused an interception…On JSU’s game-opening series, he tackled QB Ryan Perriloux on a 1-yard option run, followed by taking down Jamal Young for a 1-yard loss on the opponent’s next running play. On first-&-goal during that possession, he rerouted tight end Justin Howard away from a Perrilloux pass attempt at the MSU 7-yard line…Later in the opening stanza, Lane forced JSU to punt after he sacked Perrilloux for an 8-yard loss on a third-&-9 snap…At the start of the second quarter, Lane showed that he certainly plays with a high motor, as he first pressured Perrilloux out of the pocket and alertly got into position to deflect the QB’s toss intended for James Wilkerson…He would later jam Jamal Young on a second-&-8 Perrilloux pass attempt in the third quarter…The defensive end was charged with a personal foul, but he made up for that miscue later in that possession, when he pressured Perrilloux on second-&-10 and the ill-advised pass was intercepted by the Racers’ Zach Kutch at the Murray State 12…Talking about the team’s prospects for the rest of the season, Lane told the media in the post-game press conference, “I haven’t seen the game tape yet, but defense went down swinging. We went down fighting. Just putting the X’s and O’s together. We had the same intensity burning on defense throughout the game. As long as we play as a team we’re going to be fine.”…Record Watch-Lane’s sack increased his career total to 23.0, ranking behind Anthony Hutch (28.0, 1992-96) on the school’s all-time record list…His 1.5 stops for loss increased his tackle-for-loss total to 43.5, again ranking behind Hutch (44.0) in school history…His three sacks were the most by a Southern Conference player in a game since Katon Bethay of Wofford registered four sacks vs. Virginia Military Institute in 2005…Those sacks increased his tackle for loss total to 40.0, ranking behind only Anthony Hutch (44.0, 1995-98) in school history…Head to Head Competition-OT#75-Bob Shapel (6:04-302)…Lane Defensive Impact-The defensive end made five of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to minus 4 yards (-0.80 ypc), adding 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he made one third-down tackle… Against the pass, the opposition completed 0-of-4 passes (00.00%) targeted into his area, as he rerouted receivers away from two incomplete passes…The defense allowed 254 yards and two touchdowns on 48 carries (5.29 ypc), and 580 total yards on 79 plays (7.34 yards per attempt).
All-American first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, adding third-team accolades from the Associated Press…Member of the College Sporting News Fabulous Fifty All-American team…Added All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team honors…Started ten of twelve games at right defensive end, coming off the bench vs. Jacksonville State and Eastern Illinois…Ranked sixth on the team with a career-high 63 tackles (31 solos), helping the Racers rank second in the conference in total defense, allowing just 328.42 yards per game (team gave up 446.36 yards per game the previous season)… Led the league and ranked fourth in the nation with 12.0 sacks for minus 108 yards, breaking the previous school season-record of 10.5 sacks that were recorded by both Anthony Hutch (1996) and Marcus Stepp (1998)…With Lane leading the way, the Racers finished second in the OVC and 33rd nationally with an average of 2.25 quarterback sacks per game…Lane’s 3.5 sacks vs. Southeast Missouri State tied the school game-record that was first set by Anthony Hutch vs. Tennessee-Martin in 1996…Also finished fourth in the nation while leading the conference with a school season-record 22.0 stops for losses of 140 yards, topping the old MSU mark of 19.0 tackles behind the line of scrimmage by Kent Lapa in 1987…His four stops for loss vs. Southeast Missouri State rank fourth on the school game-record list… Registered eleven quarterback pressures, as he caused three fumbles, recovered three others and deflected two passes…Also blocked the fourth kick for his career…Lane made 58 plays vs. the opposition’s running game, holding those runners to minus 90 yards, the lowest figure by any defensive player in the NCAA FCS ranks (only Florida State’s Everette Brown had a lower figure in the entire collegiate ranks, holding opponents to minus 91 yards)…Allowed just one first down carry by his opponents, as he recorded nine third-down stops and two more on fourth-down plays…Posted twelve of his tackles vs. the run inside the red zone, including four on goal-line plays…In addition to his 26 stops behind the line of scrimmage (18 solos, 6 assists), Lane also stopped opposing ball carriers for no gain on seven other rushing attempts… Delivered 29 plays vs. the pass, as he rerouted or jammed opposing receivers away from 12 of those throws and saw just seven tosses in his area caught for a total of 35 yards (allowed 24.14% of those passes to be completed for an average of 5.0 yards per catch and 1.21 yards per pass attempt)… Only one of those receptions resulted in a first down, as Lane made twelve third-down stops and one more on fourth-down vs. the aerial game…Against the pass, he delivered seven stops inside the red zone, including four on goal-line plays…What makes his totals even more impressive is the fact that the opposition recorded just one play for more than ten yards vs. the defensive end, a 15-yard reception in the Tennessee Tech clash.
Lane started ten games at right defensive end, missing the Lambuth contest due to an undisclosed injury…Led the team’s down linemen with 48 tackles (28 solos), as he placed second on the squad with 3.5 sacks for minus 23 yards and 8.5 stops for losses totaling 40 yards…Added five quarterback pressures, as the 228-pounder also deflected one pass and blocked one kick…On 44 running plays directed at him, the opposition gained 82 yards (1.86 ypc) while Murray State ranked 115th nationally vs. the run, allowing 260.82 yards per game…Had five third-down tackles and another on fourth-down vs. the rushing attack, as he stopped opposing ball carriers for no gain on six carries and made a total of ten hits inside the red zone, including five on goal-line plays…Against the pass, the opposition completed 3-of-19 passes targeted into his area (15.79%), good for 28 yards, an average of 9.33 yards per pass completion and 1.47 yards per attempt, as he delivered nine third-down stops and rerouted/jammed receivers on eight pass attempts vs. the aerial attack.
Lane started 9-of-10 games for the Racers as a true freshman, finishing ninth on the team with 34 tackles (11 solos)…Ranked tied for second on the squad with 2.5 sacks for minus 12 yards, adding 3.5 stops for losses of 13 yards and one quarterback pressure…Blocked two kicks (one extra point attempt in each of the Samford and Tennessee State games) and had one pass deflection.
Injury report to follow, but sat out the 2006 Eastern Kentucky (11/04) and 2007 Lambuth (9/15) contests with undisclosed ailments.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
4.58 in the 40-yard dash…1.51 10-yard dash…2.61 20-yard dash…4.07 20-yard shuttle…11.43 60-yard shuttle…6.70 three-cone drill…35-inch vertical jump…9’11”broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times.
Attended Iola-Sandinavia (Wisc.) High School, where he played on both sides of the ball for the football team…As a senior, he registered 14.5 quarterback sacks as a defensive end and also caught 31 passes for 717 yards (23.1 avg) and thirteen touchdowns as a wide receiver…Earned All-Conference and All-Region offensive and defensive honors…Was also named All-State first-team on defense and was an honorable mention offensive choice…That year, he also recorded 134 tackles (77 solos), as he recovered four fumbles and blocked five kicks during his final campaign…Added two letters for the Thunderbirds’ basketball team, earning second-team All-Conference accolades in 2004-05.
Journalism major…Son of Julie and Mark Maher…Born Austen D. Lane on 11/09/87... Resides in Iola, Wisconsin.
PLAYER STATISTICS DEFENSIVE STATISTICS STATS GP GS TK SO AS FR FC INT TFL PBU SACK PRES 2006 10 09 34 11 23 0 0 0-0 4.0- 14 1 2.5- 12 6 2007 10 10 48 28 20 0 0 0-0 8.5- 40 1 3.5- 23 5 2008 12 10 63 31 32 3 3 0-0 22.0-140 2 12.0-108 11 2009 05 05 30 10 20 0 2 0-0 9.0- 25 1 5.0- 14 6 TOTAL 37 34 175 80