April 20, 2024

From Walk on to Senior Bowl. How Calvin Austin III is sprinting his way to the draft.

Calvin warming up on Day 1 of practice from Reeses Senior Bowl- Photo Credit- Wes Pruett 4SSM

Announcement of Calvin Accepting Invite to Reeses Senior Bowl

When you look at this season’s Senior Bowl, one of the most crowded positions is the Wide Receiver. There are 33 receivers from around the country in Mobile to compete in the 72nd edition of the game. The prospects are from schools from Ole Miss to North Dakota State and everywhere in between. There are scouts from all 32 NFL teams and there is one name that I have heard consistently all week. Memphis Tigers very own Calvin Austin III. 

High School

Calvin ran track and played High School football for Harding Academy from 2014-to 2016. During this time the Lions Football program went 26-9 and 3 straight state playoff appearances. His track career was just as successful as he was a 9X state champion in sprint/relays and set 7 school records while there. Calvin had world-class speed even in high school and he gained multiple awards while playing football and running track at Harding. Calvin would finish his football career for the Lions with 3,492 All-Purpose yards and 2,071 total yards as well as be named Tennessee Mr. Football Semi Finalist in 2016. 


Photo Credits- nflmock.com

The University of Memphis Football program has created a winning culture over the last 10 years. Coaches like Justin Fuente, Mike Norvell, and now head coach Ryan Silverfield have done a great job of evaluating talent and getting the most out of that talent. Players like Paxton Lynch, Riley Ferguson, Brady White, and others have given Tiger fans much to cheer about. When it comes to players who have had to earn their way on the roster who have made the biggest impact on not only the team but also the national exposure of the program. Players such as Anthony Miller, Alan Cross, and Calvin Austin III. All these players have one very interesting thing in common and that is that they all walked on to the program. Calvin followed in Cross and Millers’ footsteps by becoming not only a fan favorite but a legitimate weapon for the Tigers. Calvin has shown in his career with Memphis that he is more than just straight-line speed. He has worked to become a much crisper and effective route runner who compliments that with stellar footwork and fast-twitch movements off the line of scrimmage to keep defenders guessing and chasing. Over his four seasons in the bluff city, he helped make moments that fans will be talking about for ages to come when they think back. His career at Memphis was one of the most inspiring and motivational football stories nationwide in my opinion. Calvin finished his career with 156 receptions for 2,541 yards and 2,710 all-purpose yards. Calvin had possibly the wildest play in Memphis history with a wild punt return against Mississippi State to seal a huge victory at home earlier this season. 

Photo Credits- wreg.com

Senior Bowl

Calvin warming up on day one from Reeses Senior Bowl- Photo Credits – Wes Pruett 4SSM

As I stated earlier in the article the wide receiver room is jam-packed with talent from all over the country. Calvin comes into Mobile as one of the smaller {5’7, 174 pounds} statured players in the pool of talent but that hasn’t hindered his performance thus far this week. From day one of practice, Calvin has been getting noticed by media, scouts, general managers, and coaches for his talents. This week he has matched up against some incredibly talented defensive backs in drills and has met that challenge by at times making them look like they are on literal skates. In days two and three of practice, he put on an absolute show for all to see. Today at practice an anonymous NFL scout said, “If there is a faster wide receiver in college football than Calvin, I want to see him.” And he is 100 percent correct. Calvin has shown this week that he not only is healed up from a nagging ankle injury and is hitting on all cylinders. He has impressed scouts with his route running abilities, separation off the line of scrimmage, and incredible burst of acceleration. As practice has wrapped up for the week Calvin has been noticed and all eyes will be on him Saturday afternoon when he lines up for the game. 

Further reading

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