Thursday, March 31, 2022

Wednesday Round-Up: Austin Blythe's "Historic Wrestling Background"


In high school, Austin Blythe set Iowa state records and was recruited to wrestle at a NCAA Division 1 level, experience he says created more than just physical advantages.

Mar 30, 2022 at 03:16 PM

Graham Kinsinger Contributor

Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Wednesday, March 30 — about your Seattle Seahawks.


Austin Blythe's "Historic Wrestling Background"


A good pancake block by an offensive lineman is similar in many ways to pinning an opponent on the wrestling mat, and center Austin Blythe knows both feelings well.


"He's a different makeup with his historic wrestling background being from Iowa and all shows up. He's got a knack about it and how he moves and all that," head coach Pete Carroll said earlier this week at the NFL Annual Meeting.


When Carroll uses the word historic, he's not exaggerating. As a high school wrestler in Williamsburg, Iowa, Blythe dominated opponents on his way to three consecutive heavyweight state championships. His career record of 188-11 included 146 wins by fall, which was a state record at the time and is still the fifth most in Iowa state history more than a decade later.


"A lot of the skills that make a successful wrestler are what make a successful offensive lineman," Blythe said in his first press conference as a member of the Seahawks. In addition to physical similarities like hand placement, he notes that his "instincts are good and that comes from wrestling."

It didn't take long for the University of Iowa, just 30 minutes from his hometown, to notice both the physicality and the intangibles.


"The theory I developed," said Iowa football’s head coach Kirk Ferentz, "was that if a guy was a great wrestler, it didn't mean he was going to be a great football player, but rarely was he a bad football player. It's not a dealbreaker necessarily if a guy isn't a wrestler, but boy, I tell you, it's certainly a bonus."


So when it came to the standout athlete from Williamsburg? Blythe says he "received a written offer the day it was legal for the University to send me one." Just as Iowa was early to offer, he was early to commit, making the decision as a junior to play college football.


"I might be able to be good or decent in both," he said during his senior year, "but I don't think I could be great in one if I did both.


"I chose football because I love everything that goes along with football. I love the preparation and everyone working toward a common goal. I'm not saying they don't do that in wrestling, but just working within the team. I love that part about football."


He went on to excel as a member of Iowa's offensive line. A four-year starter, he was named a team captain, earned an All-American third-team selection by Associated Press, and won the program's internal Iron Hawk Award, which he says "goes to the guy who shows up day in and day out and just lifts hard."


Now he'll pair the spirit of that Iron Hawk accolade with Carroll's "always compete" mantra in hopes of earning a starting spot and making a difference on the offensive line.


Click here to read Corbin Smith's detailed piece on Blythe's readiness to compete.


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