Nederland’s Krautz leaves Lamar football team

Published 11:18 pm Monday, January 16, 2017

**UPDATED with quotes from Mike Schultz**

Lamar running back Austin Krautz of Nederland made a surprise announcement Monday on his Facebook page that he will no longer play football.

The post comes two months after Krautz finished his true freshman season as the Cardinals’ second-leading rusher. He became the starter in October after senior Kade Harrington suffered a season-ending foot injury and finished with 318 yards and one touchdown on 107 carries.

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“I just want to let everyone know that I have decided not to play football any longer,” Krautz said in the post. “I believe God has other plans for me and has put it on my heart that’s not where I need to be. I didn’t enjoy playing last year and didn’t feel the need to go back. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years!”

Reached by The News on Monday, the 5-foot-10, 181-pound Krautz pointed to a lack of interest in the game during the season as his reason for leaving. He said the change in coaches after a 3-8 season had no effect in decision. Mike Schultz was hired as head coach last month, replacing the fired Ray Woodard.

“It’s something that I dealt with during the season,” Krautz told The News about the diminished interest. “If anything, it was the difference between college football and high school football.”

Krautz’s best game came against Houston Baptist on Oct. 29. He ran 21 times for 114 yards, but Lamar lost 24-17 at home.

Schultz said Krautz talked with him Saturday, and the coach asked him to give it “a couple of days” to decide if he really wants to quit.

“We talked to him,” Schultz said. “I had my running backs coach talk to him. He didn’t feel any differently. This game is too demanding, too tough, and I don’t think you can play it if you’re not 100 percent committed. After I talked with him, I don’t think he’s 100 percent committed. I understand what he did and why he did.”

Krautz’s departure leaves Lamar with three running backs returning from 2016, Derrion Randle, Markell Hawthorne and Kendrick King. Hawthorne and King played as true freshmen, and King also saw time as a wide receiver.

Schultz did not exactly say whether having a smaller pool of running backs changes his recruiting path, but said he was comfortable with the recruiting process. National Signing Day is Feb. 1.

“We’ll be OK,” Schultz said. “I’m pretty comfortable where we’re headed on that situation. I can’t say too much about it, and I’m not in a position to say too much about it.”

Coaches are not allowed to discuss any recruit with the media until he has signed a letter of intent with a program.

At Nederland, Krautz was named The News’ Super Team Most Valuable Player and ran for more than 1,800 yards as a senior at Nederland. He helped the Bulldogs win three straight District 22-5A championships.

Krautz said he plans to continue his education at Lamar, where he is majoring in mechanical engineering.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews


About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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