Razorback Roots: Cantrell's Journey from Roland to Fayetteville

Roland, OK-

Tight Ends Coach Barry Lunney Junior referred to Austin Cantrell as a bit of a 'throwback' type when he described the Roland Native in Cantrell's Redshirt Season of 2015.

Pig Trail Nation traveled to Roland to find out who had a major impact on Cantrell when he set out to eventually experience life in SEC Football.

On the field, Austin Cantrell, simply put, says he wants to be the toughest guy out there.  Off the field?

"I'm not a jerk or anything like that, I'm a nice guy," Cantrell said.

The six-three nice, quiet guy, having success in Arkansas, credits some of his mentors from Roland.

Kathy Quickel

According to Austin's high school biology teacher, "He was always striving to do the best. He did not want to disappoint you," Kathy Quickel said.

"I always with my sophomores, when they come in, I say, well, what can you tell us about yourself that maybe somebody doesn't know.  And he said, well, I've looked like I'm a grown man since I was in the 8th grade."

Another one of Austin's teachers, Keli Harrell, now the principal, first met Cantrell when Austin was in seventh grade.

"He walked into my classroom and I thought to myself who is this man child because he is a big, big seventh grader," Harrell said.

That big kid turned into one of the top high school tight ends in the nation by his senior year.  Not only that, he was a two-time state champ in the shot put. Harrell was a long jumper at OU.

"As an old coach and an old athlete, I think that Austin is just extremely coachable," Harrell notes.

 "I really liked track. If football wasn't going to work out, I was gonna try to get a scholarship throwing shot somewhere. But, I mean, luckily football worked out," Cantrell said.

Thanks in part to Jeff Streun, Cantrell's High School Coach.

 "At the level that he's at, I know that he's a competitor, and I know he's gonna go out there and compete. If they got eight tight ends, he's gonna be number one. He's gonna want to be number one," Streun said.

At any point, Cantrell can call on Streun, Harrell and Quickel for advice.

Quickel goes through this letter that Austin wrote to her in the final week of Cantrell's senior year.

"Thanks for  being there for me every day. You're the perfect example of a great teacher. Love you, the big man, Austin Cantrell," Quickel notes.

Cantrell going old school with a handwritten letter. Heartfelt and a throwback mentality.

Austin brings that to the field, as well.  His blue-collar approach has earned him the reputation as one of the top blocking tight ends in the SEC. Now, after closing last regular season with a touchdown catch in each of the last two games before the Belk Bowl, Cantrell is seeking his first TD Catch this year.  After four games in 2017, all starts for Cantrell, he has five catches for 59 yards.




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