Austin O’Brien’s Versatility On Display In Senior Season

GRAVETTE (KFSM)--One of the more misleading records in Northwest Arkansas belongs to Gravette. At 2-4, the Lions have played teams with a combined 29-8 record. Which makes senior running back Austin O'Brien's season that much more eye popping.

"He played quarterback as a ninth grader. He played quarterback and then moved to a receiver type position, a slot receiver type position his sophomore year and then he's played running back the last two years," coach Bill Harrelson said.

"As a kid growing up I played running back so it's nothing really new," O'Brien added.

After picking up over 1,000 yards in 12 games as a junior, O'Brien has rushed for 1,152 yards in just six games this season, picking up 10 touchdowns and averaging 9.7 yards per carry.

"He's elusive, and he added a lot of size and strength this offseason," Harrelson said. "He used to have to dodge people and run around people. Now he runs over people."

O'Brien himself doesn't totally agree with his coach's assesment, and said, "I'm kind of a scat back. I'm not necessarily a guy that'll run you over. I'll lower my shoulder if I have to but normally I'm the type of guy that'll have to be patient and look for the hole and then when I see that hole I'm gonna hit it."

"Other than his athleticism, incredible ball carrier vision. So you know any time as an offensive line that you make your blocks or set the play up right, he can take it all the way any time," said offensive lineman Seth Spencer.

After running for nearly 300 yards against Pea Ridge in week six, O'Brien is averaging 192 yards per game on the ground.

"He's done it against the number one team in the state [Prairie Grove] and the number four team [Booneville] in the state. He's had great games against both of them," said Harrelson.

O'Brien concurred. "Booneville and Prairie Grove's defenses were probably some of the toughest defenses I've played in my high school career."

The senior also plays all over the field on defense, rotating between outside linebacker and cornerback. O'Brien has 61 tackles (23 came against Booneville) with three sacks and an interception.