The Recruiting Trail With NDSU Coaches: Atif Austin

Atif Austin is entering his fifth year at NDSU and has found his groove when it comes bringing top Florida talent to the Fargodome.

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Photos by Darren Gibbins and special to Bison Illustrated

You have heard from the players about their recruiting experience, now it’s time to talk to the coaches who find these young men and guide them to North Dakota State. Defensive Tackles Coach Nick Goeser and now former Special Teams Coordinator And Wide Receivers Coach Atif Austin give us their insights from what they’ve seen recruiting football players to North Dakota State.


Atif Austin

Atif Austin is from Tarpon Springs, Florida, and played football at Iowa State. He’s lived the Florida to Midwest journey and can relate to the players he recruited who are thinking about making a similar move north for college. Austin spent four years at NDSU and found his groove when it comes bringing top Florida talent to the Fargodome. He just recently accepted a position as an assistant coach for the NFL’s New England Patriots.

Coach Austin Info

  • Special Teams Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach
  • Recruiting Area: Florida
  • Years at NDSU: 5
  • Players from Florida: 7
  • Incoming Players: 4

North Dakota State’s Brand In Florida

“When I’m down there in Florida, it’s not like kids haven’t heard of North Dakota State before, now with Carson Wentz being in the NFL, Kyle Emanuel being in the NFL… Our brand is out there so kids understand who North Dakota State is. When they see or hear our name, they recognize it. Hey, we beat Iowa, we beat Iowa State, we beat Kansas State, we beat Minnesota twice. They start recognizing us and say, ‘hey, you guys are big time.'”


Getting The Recruits To Fargo

The most important strategy for NDSU coaches in recruiting is getting a potential signee to come to the football camps in the summer. This is why Coach Austin said NDSU’s presence in Florida has to be early with the amount of competition coming to the state for talent. Austin was able to get incoming freshman Tony Pierce Jr. to camp last summer. Pierce is from Lake Alfred, Florida, and paid his way to camp so NDSU could evaluate his skills and personality. He flew home with an official scholarship offer from the Bison. Two days later, Pierce verbally committed.

Recruiting A State Rich With Talent

“I found when I tried to narrow the area down, and just hit the (Tampa) Bay area, I would have more success having smaller areas in Florida versus trying to recruit the whole state and up into Jacksonville. Now, it helps that Courtney Messingham is here because he recruited the state of Florida when he was at Iowa State. He has a background on the state and now he can go down there and help me with it. He can take Orlando all the way to Jacksonville, and I can take Lakeland down to Manatee.”

The Recruiting Trail With NDSU Coaches: Atif Austin
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