Patterson High School offensive lineman Austin Harden will continue his football career at LSU as a preferred walk-on. Harden held a ceremony at Patterson High School Thursday to celebrate the occasion. Seated, from left, are Marty Harden, father; Dana Harden, mother; Jessa Harden, niece; Harden; Ryan Taylor, Patterson High School Athletic Director; and Patterson High School Principal Lane Larive. Standing, are Keatyn Harden, sister; Luis Perez, brother-in-law; Raigan Perez, sister; Tobin Johnson, cousin; high school coaches C.L. Grogan and Blake Rodriguez; Beau Harden, nephew; Brandon Harden, brother; Jaycee Harden, sister-in-law; high school coach Carlon Butler; and Angie Gros, girlfriend. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Patterson's Harden headed to LSU as a preferred walk-on OL
Patterson High School offensive lineman Austin Harden is fulfilling a dream as he will join the LSU Tiger football team this coming season.
Harden will take a spot on the team as a preferred walk-on.
"Growing up in Louisiana, this is every young man's dream in our area where sports are a big thing, so this is a dream of mine, and I'm just glad I get to do it,” Harden said after a ceremony Thursday at Patterson High School to celebrate the occasion. “It is a preferred walk-on but still, it is a dream."
Harden, a guard in high school who earned honorable mention All-District 8-3A honors his senior and junior seasons, said he was contacted by LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, who recruits this area, later in the recruiting cycle after scholarships were filled. Raymond told him that offensive linemen were a key need at LSU this season, so they offered him a preferred walk-on spot, Harden said.
At LSU, Harden said he probably would play either guard or center.
Harden said he would prefer to play guard, but he thinks center would be where he would play if he can learn what's needed for the position.
As he prepares for the college football life, Harden has been working out with Zach Case, a former starting offensive lineman at Northwestern State who earned all-conference honors. Case also has experience as a college football coach at the University of Arkansas-Monticello.
"He's very experienced in the football realm, and he knows his stuff, too,” Harden said.
Harden said he has been making big strides in the weight room under Case's guidance.