After deciding to give football a try following a two-year layoff and attending Reedley Junior College in California, the 6-3, 245-pound speedy defender decided that Auburn was the place for him and he worked hard to make his dream a reality.
Needing to buckle down in the academic side of college life to be eligible to move to the Plains this summer and begin working out with the team, Langenfeld had to take a full load of classes in the spring to get his hours. Deciding that it was worth it not to run track, as he had done the previous spring, he hit the books and the work paid off as he arrived in Auburn on Monday to begin preparing for two-a-days in August.
"My first impression so far is that the guys will help you a lot and they will stick with you," Langenfeld tells Inside The Auburn Tigers following his second day of working out with Coach Kevin Yoxall, Auburn's strength and conditioning coach. "When you are down they are there to pick you up. We have a good supporting cast and they want to win. I want to do anything I can to help them win.
"It's real rewarding because of the simple fact that I sat out for two years and came back to college when I was 21," Langenfeld adds about making it to Auburn this summer. "I'm about to be 23. It's a big challenge and a reward for myself to prove that I took time off and came back and actually did something."
Doug Langenfeld is shown following his Thursday workout on the Auburn campus.
Originally from Moncks Corner, S.C., Langenfeld was recruited by schools all over the country coming out of Reedley. Using better than 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash to wreak havoc from the defensive end position, he totaled 86 tackles and 14.5 sacks as a sophomore when he led Reedley to a perfect 12-0 record. Choosing Auburn over South Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Nebraska, Washington, Florida and others, Langenfeld says that he knew right away Auburn was the perfect fit for him.
"At first my intention was getting close to home," Langenfeld notes. "When they first started recruiting me I didn't know what to think until I came on a visit. That's when I knew this was the place I wanted to be. The distance to home really wasn't a factor.
"On my visit I met Travis Williams and I've met Reggie Torbor," he says. "They were basically telling me about the chemistry here. It sounded like it would be fun. Coming to a school where I have a chance to play and also have a chance to win is fun. It's better than going to a school where in a season we might win five games and might make a bowl."
Much has been made of the heat and humidity the USC Trojans will be dealing with when they come to Auburn to play the Tigers in the season opener on Aug. 30 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. As an authority on the subject, back just a few days after living for two years in California, Langenfeld says that it's not really that much of a change from what he's been accustomed to on the West Coast.
"The heat really isn't a problem because California is hot, too," he says. "I haven't really been able to be in the weight room as much because my last semester at junior college I took a ton of classes to transfer here. Now it's just me getting into shape. The heat and the sun are not going to be a factor."
Coming into a program that is predicted to field one of the top teams in the country next season, it wouldn't be surprising for Langenfeld to be a little overwhelmed in his first week as a Tiger. That hasn't been the case at all for the mature junior, who welcomes the challenge to come in and get some playing time at one of the deepest positions on the Auburn team for the 2003 season.
"To come into a program that's used to winning is fun because there's not a lot of pressure on you to be the man on the team," he notes. "All you have to do is fill your role and the team will win. I know other schools where there was no supporting cast. I felt like if I would have went there then I would have had to play about 75 plays a game and that can wear you out a lot.
"I just came from a junior college and we were the top ranked junior college in the country. I'm used to winning. I expect nothing, but to win."