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Austin Contreras
Nominated by Mike Price

Austin joined the UTEP football program as a walk on from Americas High School (El Paso-area) in 2006. During his redshirt year, he had the opportunity to play very little, but that did not diminish his commitment to the team, school and his personal preparation and practice. Austin worked extremely hard on the scout team and he was vocal in urging all other scout team members to practice as if they were starters on the team.

Austin was rewarded for his perseverance by receiving more playing time during his next two years, all the while dedicating himself to continued training and practice. His attitude was very contagious to the rest of his teammates; not just the young, impressionable players, but the veteran players as well. Practice, meetings and film study was more lively and active and it was evident that Austin had taken it upon himself to be a leader on the team.

His character, courage, contribution and commitment were all seen and appreciated by the entire coaching staff. He tirelessly worked each year and never complained about his lack of playing time, but instead worked even harder to better himself and the team.

Austin also distinguishes himself in the classroom as a two-time Conference USA Gold Medal Award recipient for academic performance. He plays his part in the community by actively working with various youth programs and taking advantage of his status as a UTEP football player to influence younger children.

Austin deserves this year’s Rudy Award as he typifies the type of person for which the award was created. He applied himself to succeed, never showing signs of discouragement, no matter what adversity he faced. He is not only an inspiration to the younger players, but the coaches look to him as an example as well.