Once upon a time (in 2004), current Redskins wide receiver Terrence Austin was 17 years old and entering his senior season at Long Beach Poly, one of the premier high school football programs in the country. Long Beach Poly has a reputation as a “pipeline to the NFL,” and Austin was right in the middle of it.
But back then, Austin wasn’t concerned with being drafted or making an NFL roster cut. In 2004, Austin was expected to fill the void on the Jackrabbit offense left by the recently-graduated DeSean Jackson, in pursuit of their second straight title.
With big expectations, the comparisons to current Eagles superstar Jackson were natural, as Austin explained in a video courtesy of his representatives at Atlas Strategies:
Well, with me and DeSean, it’s like, I noticed when he was here that he was a real hard worker. So I came in as a freshman and I was lost. And for one person, in order to make sure I could be like, DeSean was the closest to me because he was the closest to me in age.
I compared myself to him early to try to work out and be hard and everything. So a lot of those comparisons come between me and him because we both get a lot of the same workouts and things like that.
I don’t think that we’re that much different at all. I think we’re both at the same intensity level as far as going out there and playing on the field. And we’re similar in size, similar in quickness and speed. To tell you the truth, I really couldn’t find a difference, y’know, between me in him.
With that being said, Austin was able to identify one area where the two are much different:
I make sure our mentality is different as football players. Y’know he’s more of a trash talker, I would say, but I’m more a guy that’s a show-guy. I go out there and they say, “Let me see what you gonna do,” I’m not gonna say, “hey, I’m gonna do this.” Y’know, I just do it. I won’t talk trash, I just play the game. That’s the only difference I can find between us.
Mentality can help to set up performance, but obviously on-the-field production is most important in the NFL.
One of the things that Austin did to help himself physically was to run track and field at Long Beach Poly as well. According to Atlas Strategies, by the end of high school Austin had compiled some impressive results:
40-yard dash: 4.40 seconds
Pro shuttle: 3.79 seconds
Vertical jump: 39 inches
High jump: 6 feet 8 inches
Long jump: 23 feet
The training on the track started as a way for Austin to improve on the gridiron:
When I came here, I definitely said, “Oh, I’m gonna run track” ’cause I wanna be on of those good guys that’s out there blazing speed. And it helps out a lot to come out and work out with the track coach[es]–those guys know about speed.
The skill position here at Poly is known to have speed. So, when you come out here to Poly and run track and play football, it does go hand-in-hand.
If you think about going to the next level, you probably wanna get some kind of advantage.
Ironically though, thanks to his raw skills on the track, Austin was dreaming of a future outside of the NFL:
I definitely wanna [be a two-sport athlete] in college. I definitely could probably end up going to the Olympics in a couple years in the high-jump. And that’s one thing that I wanna try to do. That’s been my dream for a long time.
There’s no question that Austin has the ability to pursue a career in track and field, but he is currently dedicated to making the Redskins roster this season.
As for the DeSean Jackson comparisons, Austin still has time to make an impact at the pro level. At this point, he’s used to the comparisons.
As a high school senior, Jackson piled up 60 receptions for 1,075 yards and 15 touchdowns. The 2004-2005, also as a senior, Austin went on to collect 46 receptions for 920 yards and eight touchdowns. If Austin can follow a similar career path to Jackson in the NFL, the Redskins will have a steal in the 2010 seventh-rounder.
Check out Parts I and II of the video posted below, courtesy of Atlas Strategies:
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I’ve written before about Mike Shanahan, Joe Theismann, and Mark Rypien golfing together in last year’s American Century Championship — here and here, for example — but this post is slightly different: for this year’s event, I’m mentioning it far enough in advance that you can actually tune in and watch it on TV.
The American Century Championship airs live on Versus this Friday, July 15 from 4-7 PM (ET) and on NBC Sports Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17 from 3-6 pm (ET), and all three of those gentleman are again expected to participate.
In other mid-July “NFL” “news”, after the jump, check out a promo for the Lingerie Football League’s Seattle Mist, featuring some quarterback work from Mark Rypien’s daughter Angela. I’m not going to lie: I fully intend to follow the Mist this season just because of this tenuous Redskins connection.
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