Austin Vervynck during his high school days in Kawanee, Illinois Photo submitted

Vervynck, Special in More Ways Than One

Austin Vervynck is not the most imposing figure when you see amongst his teammates. The Middle Tennessee Bulldawg rookie blends in when walking to the field. Once he puts on his uniform, his ability jumps right at you. During warmups, he doesn’t miss a pass. At practice, during the few times he may drop one, he demands to do it again to get it right. After just four games, his grit and determination has made him a favorite amongst his teammates.

“The guy catches everything thrown his way,” said linebacker Mychal Hendricks. “We saw him in the spring and knew he was a player. Seeing him at practice and in games gives you a better respect for him. Dude is a worker. I like that about him.”

Vervynck played for the Tennessee Bolts during the spring. He decided to join the Bulldawgs and showed flashes at their tryout. He started out the number twelve receiver on the depth chart. Since then he has moved up to fourth. One of the ways he made the team was his play on special teams. Through four games he has five tackles and an unbelievable three onside kick recoveries.

“You want guys on your kickoff team that are nasty,” said head coach Blaine Boone. “We saw that in Austin and tried him out there. His speed and hustle has helped us on special teams. Seems like our kicker (Tim Brecht) and him have figured it out. Tim kicks it and Austin goes to get it. It is a beautiful sight to see.”

Vervynck scored his first touchdown with the Bulldawgs in their Week 3 86-0 victory against the Kentucky Stallions. The following week, he had what he described as a bad game fumbling a pass reception and missing a leaping grab that could have been a touchdown. After the fumble, the first person that met him on the sidelines was his general manager Scott Wallace.

“I told him to shake it off and keep making plays,” said Wallace. “The kid is talented and will help us down the stretch. If all our players had his heart, I would schedule the Tennessee Titans.”

Not only has Vervynck won respect of his teammates and coaches, he has drawn the biggest fan base on the team. His family in Kewanee, Illinois follow his every move on social media and they take in the games on the internet. Recently, he was featured in his hometown newspaper.

“I love that my family supports me like they do,” said Vervynck. “Moving all the way down here wasn’t easy. Playing with these guys has made the transition better. I have some high dreams and I am determined to accomplish them. I really appreciate the opportunity I have with the Bulldawgs.”