If Steve Farmer had his way, he’d find a couple of more years of eligibility for senior offensive lineman Austin Albrecht.
That’s how highly Utah State’s first-year offensive line coach thinks of his left tackle.
“Austin Albrecht is about as good of a young man as you’ll ever find,” Farmer said. “He is extremely intelligent, he’s extremely athletic, he’s very competitive and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach him. I wish he had another couple of years of eligibility.”
Albrecht has been a fixture at left tackle in all 11 games for the Aggies this season, starting each time out. He also started all 13 games for Utah State a year ago, including 11 times at left tackle and two times at right guard.
“Austin is my guy,” junior quarterback Kent Myers said. “He’s my left tackle – my blindside – so I take good care of him with him watching that side for me. We are pretty close and we get along well. We try to hang out outside of football when he’s not busy and if we’re doing a football event, we try to get in the same group.”
During the offseason leading up to his senior campaign, Albrecht had surgery on his wrist.
“One of my ligaments was torn, so they went in and repaired it,” Albrecht explained. “They also found some extra tissue and took that out, but I’m feeling good now.”
He sure is, and it’s showing on the field.
Albrecht currently leads the offensive line group in knockdowns with 83, including a season-high 12 against San Diego State.
“Off the field, he’s a complete pro as far as his film study, the way he prepares and the way he handles himself,” Farmer said. “He’s married and has a kid, so I have nothing but pride for him. I hate to see it come to the end with him.”
Fortunately for Farmer, he still has half the season to coach Albrecht.
A former standout at Alta High School (Sandy, Utah), where he earned second-team all-state honors as an offensive lineman from the Deseret News as a senior in 2011, Albrecht redshirted his first season at Utah State in 2012 and did not see any action the following year.
“It started off kind of slow,” Albrecht said of his Aggie career. “I had to sit out a couple of years, but I played behind some really good offensive linemen. Once I got my chance to play, it’s been a really fun and really good career.”
After not playing in his first two campaigns at Utah State, Albrecht has proven to be a reliable and durable lineman for the Aggies in the two-plus seasons since. As a sophomore in 2014, he played in all 14 games and made his first two starts in back-to-back games against San José State and Boise State.
His best game as a sophomore came against New Mexico on Nov. 15, as he played 47 snaps and graded out at 87 percent, including 91 percent in assignment and 96 percent in effort.
As a junior in 2015, he earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors as he had an overall performance grade of 75 percent for the season, which included two games greater than 80 percent.
Albrecht has appeared in 38 total games for Utah State and started 26 of those. He’s played 1,841 snaps and recorded 158 knockdowns.
Myers said Albrecht’s greatest strength is his communication.
“Austin Stephens is the center and he’s the one really communicating, but on the outside, sometimes Austin can’t see that well, so Albrecht is relaying the information,” Myers said. “He also has great speed. He’s 6-5, but he can still move well.”
Leadership is another strength Albrecht possesses.
“What he does an unbelievable job of is putting his arm around the younger guys in the program and helping them as far as expectations, learning the playbook and those type of things,” Farmer said. “He’s an unbelievable kid.”
Prior to the start of the 2016 campaign, Albrecht was tabbed second-team all-MW by Phil Steele.
“He’s doing a very good job, he’s keeping it up and he’s working hard every day to get better,” Myers said.
Albrecht has made numerous memories since arriving at Utah State, but there are two games that he will cherish forever.
“The Boise State game last year and the BYU game the year before were phenomenal games that don’t come around very often,” he said.
In the 2015 game against the 21st-ranked Broncos, Albrecht and the Aggies opened up a 45-10 lead at halftime en route to the 52-26 victory. In 2014, Utah State picked up its first win at BYU in 37 years, beating the 18th-ranked Cougars, 35-20.
“It was just great to be a part of those,” Albrecht said.
Albrecht is not your typical college football player. That’s because he has to juggle his football duties, school work and family responsibilities, which includes caring for his wife, Emily, and their 2-year-old son, Eli.
“My wife is very supportive and awesome,” Albrecht said. “She is always out here and involved with the coaches’ wives and other players’ wives. Going home and seeing Eli just makes me feel good about any bad things that happened during the day. Just watching Eli learn things and figure things out, he’s way smarter than me, really.”
Albrecht enjoys the down time he gets to spend at home with his family, especially Eli, who gives him an excuse to watch cartoons.
“I use my child as an excuse to watch cartoons,” Albrecht said. “We like watching Disney Channel. We just watched 'Zootopia' and he was giggling almost as much as me.”
Albrecht appreciates raising his son in Cache Valley, which is known for its family-friendly atmosphere.
“It’s a great environment,” he said. “This valley is awesome. Everywhere we go, people will see me with a Utah State shirt on and they’ll come over and talk to us, and they’ll get to know my family. This valley cares about us.”
The son of Craig and JoAnne Albrecht is majoring in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in physical education and minor in marketing. He is on track to graduate in December.
What does the future hold in store for Albrecht?
“I plan to pursue a career in football, but if it doesn’t work out, I’ll look for a career in marketing,” Albrecht said. “I’m thankful for everything that I’ve been given up here and everybody I’ve met.”