Austin May, a 2020 Menlo-Atherton High School graduate, hopes to help University of Florida football
By Nathan Mollat Daily Journal Staff
Having been born and spending his formative years in Colorado, 2020 Menlo-Atherton graduate Austin May has always wanted to be part of the Denver Broncos.
To try to achieve his dream, he enrolled at University of Florida — a perennial college football power ranked No. 10, so far, this season.
Oh. May doesn’t want to play for the Broncos. He wants to work for them. Or any other NFL team. Doesn’t matter. His enrollment at Florida was to work in the school’s athletic department, where he is an intern in the college recruiting branch of the football program.
“I really like football, but had not been sure about what I wanted to do (in the sport),” said May. “As the years have gone along, I (became) interested in recruiting.”
May is one of those fans who consumes vast amounts of information about college football and its players. While many hard-core college football fans may be aware of the top 10, 20 players entering the NFL draft, May was one of those who knew about guys in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds of the draft.
“I was always reading (recruiting and evaluation) articles. … Looking at it from a long-term view, I thought it was pretty cool,” May said. “There are 300 (draft) picks and I know 280 going in (to the NFL draft).”
A lifelong sports fan, May was not necessarily looking to be an athlete in high school. He had dabbled in tennis and played flag football, but came to a realization early on he’d rather be on the non-playing side of sports.
“I kind of figured going into high school, I’d rather be involved on the managerial side, or whatever you want to call it, rather than just being a bench warmer for the team,” May said.
His freshman and sophomore years, May was the junior varsity statistician. But just like a player, come his junior year, May wanted to move up to varsity and take a more active role. He emailed then M-A coach Adhir Ravipati, explained what he wanted to do and was given the duties of statistician — and whatever else was asked of him.
“When all the kids in my grade were moving up (to varsity) junior year, I wanted to do more (for the team),” May said. “Junior year is when I got really involved with the team. I would travel to games, go to every practice. I’d write down plays (run during the game) and upload them (to the team’s webpage). Just help out where I could. … In study hall, I would help tutor some kids who needed help in math.”
During his high school years, May was around what could be considered a “Golden Era” for Bears football. They were playing for league, section and state titles, while a number of players were being heavily recruited — including the likes of Daniel Heimuli and Noa Ngalu, who both are at University of Washington, and current M-A senior Troy Franklin, who has committed to University of Oregon.
This is when May really started to see recruiting in his future.
“All these guys (on the team) were getting recruited and I started to talking to guys (about the process),” May said. “I just kind of got interested in it from there.”
After his senior season with new coach Steve Papin, who had replaced Ravipati, May contacted the University of Florida athletic department and inquired about getting involved. He said he was placed in a group of other potential interns and they spent about 60 hours working on a project.
While no one said it was a test, May certainly looked at it that way, which made his reaction to being accepted for an internship an expected one.
“I was in my bedroom (when I got the call),” May said. “I ran downstairs and nearly tackled my dad. I was super excited.”
Just like that, May is working in a Division I athletic department, working in football recruiting. He realizes it’s only the beginning and he won’t be making recommendations about players any time soon. But he does know he is part of one of the more storied football programs in the nation and believes he can make a difference.
“Everything you’re doing is a contribution to the team and helping out the team. (That mentality) has helped me out a lot,” May said. “The recruiting department works hand in hand with the coaching staff. Some things go through me (and other interns), then work their way up the ladder.”
May still doesn’t have a full concept about what his duties entail because this recruiting season is unlike any other. Normally, he would be helping recruits with their official campus visits or working with the summer football camps and any number of other in-person interactions.
“Right now, it’s hard to have any interactions. … During a normal year, I would have to be around recruits. But none of that stuff is happening,” May said. “I haven’t even been in the recruiting office. I had to meet my boss, like, 30 feet from the office.”
While the dream to work for the NFL and the Denver Broncos remains, there may be other avenues that provide just as much satisfaction for May.
“(Being a player evaluator) would be the ultimate goal,” May said. “If (the university) really likes you after you graduate, they try to hire you to the staff.
“I would honestly love to work for the university (full time). Obviously we’re a great a football program. Getting a chance to be part of it, even as an intern, has been awesome.”
Editor’s note: this story has been updated to show Florida football is ranked No. 10 at the start of the week.