Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 25, 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 19 of 55

20 SEPT. 25, 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED understands the difficult demands for a student-athlete. "He can work tirelessly as long as he can see that end goal." And while structure is a great trait, both father and son agree that sometimes a stringent plan breeds impatience, and such was the case for Austin during his first two seasons at Notre Dame. "When am I going to get my chance? Are the coaches noticing me? Will my day ever come?" These were just of few thoughts racing through Austin's mind at practice every day. "Because it's a slow process, it was difficult to see if the coaches were actually catching onto what I was doing," said Austin, who checks in at 5-11 and 192 pounds. "I'm a football player, I can play. I'm not here just to have the experience to say that I played for the Notre Dame team. I'm here to compete." Austin finally made his first token varsity appearance as a sophomore in 2015 against Massachusetts, and he was rewarded for his tireless and thankless practice work again last season as a junior when he played about six snaps at wide receiver dur- ing mop-up duty against Army. He also made the travel roster in 2016 for a couple of games as a backup special teams player. "It wasn't much. I understand that, but it felt like another important step to what I want to accomplish during my playing time here," said Austin, who was named a team captain last December by head coach Brian Kelly, given a scholarship in August and was then tabbed as a special teams regular before the season opener against Temple in September. From overlooked walk-on to a strong team leader, Austin Webster has squeezed every drop out of his time at Notre Dame. His plans for an encore are prob- ably not what you might expect from a finance major. While working at an internship during his junior year at a venture capital firm in South Bend, Austin began to take interest in the medi- cal field. Couple that with a strong military background on his mother Stacey's side of the family, and Aus- tin concocted an interesting post- graduation plan. Always looking for challenge, he wants to parlay his physical gifts, his mental toughness and his leadership skills into a career with the U.S. Na- val special ops as a combat rescue of- ficer. The training regimen — which includes intense underwater confi- dence work — carries a 90-percent attrition rate and stands right next to those the elite Navy SEALS undergo. "The more research I did, the more I realized that God put this before me," Austin said. "That is the path- way I will be pur- suing right now." Austin said he will immediately begin his rigorous military training once his football career ends, which in theory may not be until after the 2018 season because he has another year of eligibility remaining that could come at Notre Dame if he is invited back for a fifth year or at another school as a graduate transfer. But whatever lies ahead for Austin Webster, be sure there will be a well laid out and ex- ecuted plan to make the best of it. ✦ "I'M A FOOTBALL PLAYER, I CAN PLAY. I'M NOT HERE JUST TO HAVE THE EXPERIENCE TO SAY THAT I PLAYED FOR THE NOTRE DAME TEAM. I'M HERE TO COMPETE." WEBSTER When his time at Notre Dame comes to an end, Webster plans to pursue a career with the U.S. Naval special ops as a combat rescue officer. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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