By Eric Ingles Democrat Sports Reporter
February 5, 2014
Austin LaBoube is heading to Missouri Valley.
The 6-1, 195 pound Smith-Cotton senior is part of the Vikings football 2014 recruiting class announced on Wednesday.
“I liked the campus,” he said. “I thought the coaches were very hands on with the players and I enjoyed the environment they had at the school.”
“They’re getting a very good athlete,” said former Smith-Cotton football coach Mark Johnson. “He’s got great potential. I think he’s going to get a lot bigger.”
LaBoube played tight end and defensive end for the Tigers. With the Vikings, he will move to linebacker.
“I don’t think he’s going to have any trouble converting,” Johnson said. “They’re going to put him in as an outside linebacker. He’s got great speed, he’s a sprinter on the track team, so I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”
LaBoube feels that is a challenge he is ready for.
“The way the defense is set up, the outside backer I’ll be playing in college is just like the defensive end I was playing,” he said. “I think the transition might be a little easier on me.”
He saw significant playing time as a sophomore and started on the defensive line his junior and senior year.
“He’s not afraid to work,” Johnson said. “He’s got great work ethic and he’s very coachable.”
His work ethic, along with his speed, is what Johnson noticed in LaBoube the first day LaBoube walked into Smith-Cotton training camp.
“Those are the first two things you look at,” Johnson said. “We knew he had a chance. We knew he was going to get bigger. We knew he was going to be a pretty good player.”
While he was looking at Missouri Valley early on in the recruiting process, it was a close decision for him between the Vikings and Central Methodist. In the end, Missouri Valley just seemed like home to him.
“I am beyond excited to play college football,” he said. “It means the world to me. It’s a dream come true.”