Austin Grabow’s football career at Illinois College officially ended last fall, but the education is scheduled to continue.
The Hillsboro graduate started his football career as an undersized offensive lineman. He finished his IC career as a starter.
“Being inside the offensive line is something special,” said Grabow. “It is a selfless position and being undersized as an offensive lineman my entire college career, I learned that technique and passion wins every time. The offensive line is definitely it’s own unit and it is a very prideful position. It takes a special person to play in the trenches.”
During the 2019 season, Grabow, a steady starter at center as a senior, the Blue Boys posted a 6-3 mark. They were 2-2 in the Midwest Conference. IC posted 3,267 yards of offense. They passed for 1,845 yards and rushed for 1,644 yards. They scored 292 points, an average of 32.44 points per game. They rushed for 22 touchdowns and passed for 14 touchdowns. They had 165 first downs.
“My senior year was my best season,” said Grabow. “I played injured during the entire season. I did not practice much and I played every game. I was nominated as a NCAA Division III All-American, learned a new offensive scheme in two weeks from our new offensive coordinator and gave IC their second winning season of my career. The two favorite games of my career were the final game of my junior year and the first game of my junior year. We won the game against Macalester College in the snow in Minnesota. My senior season, we downed Rhodes College in the first game of the year. It was an emotional victory for the entire team.”
The All-American honor was not the only award he won as a senior. He was named to the Midwest Conference’s Second Team and was also invited to play in the All Conference Senior Bowl in South Carolina in 2019.
In the four years of his career, IC posted 14,870 yards of offense. Of those yards,9,685 were passing yards, while 5,407 were rushing yards. They scored 139 touchdowns, passing for 77 and rushing for 62. They had 783 first downs.
Since 2016, they have posted a record of 21-18. In the Midwest Conference, they have posted a record of 12-10. In 2016, the MWC was divided into divisions and they were 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the MWC. Grabow, who was mainly a defensive player in high school, lettered four times in college and three times in high school.
“Our practices at Hillsboro were old school, we grinded it out, practiced hard and played physical,” said the former Hiltopper. “I picked up a hard-nosed style of play because we ran the ball 95 percent of the time in high school. My run-game technique was clinic when I came to IC. The older guys at IC were hard-nosed, old school seniors. They did and said what they did to get the best out of us everyday. I respect that to this day and hope that all those that played with me, feel the same way about me.”
The son of Ronnie Grabow of Auburn and Amanda Smith of Hillsboro, will graduate in May with a degree in History. He will also earn minors in Psychology and Political Science. He will spend the next six months looking for a part time job and an internship, before attending law school in the spring semester of 2021.
“I wish we could have beaten some of the teams that really mattered for us to advance to the conference championships,” said Grabow. “We were so close my senior season. When an athlete first steps on a college football field, you are amazed at the speed and intensity of the game. It is really shocking. It was a big adjustment being away from my family and that was difficult initially. Discipline, respect, perspective, integrity and hard work are all core qualities that I gained on the football field. I am grateful for that. It is something that I have done for 14 years of my life that will stick with me forever. The teammates and bonds that I have created among the IC football team will never be forgotten.”