Tavon Austin

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Tavon Austin
refer to caption
Austin with the St. Louis Rams in 2013
No. 11 Los Angeles Rams
Position: Wide Receiver,
Punt Returner
Personal information
Date of birth: (1991-03-15) March 15, 1991 (age 26)
Place of birth: Baltimore, Maryland
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 176 lb (80 kg)
Career information
High school: Baltimore (MD) Dunbar
College: West Virginia
NFL Draft: 2013 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2016
Receptions: 181
Receiving yards: 1,624
Rushing attempts: 125
Rushing yards: 968
Total return yards: 1,741
Total touchdowns: 23
Player stats at NFL.com

Tavon Wesley Austin (born March 15, 1991) is an American football wide receiver and punt returner for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). He was widely considered one of the top prospects at his position, and was drafted by the Rams in the first round (eighth overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft.[1][2] He played college football at West Virginia and received All-American honors twice.

Early years[edit]

Austin attended Dunbar High School in Baltimore, Maryland, where he played football, basketball, and ran track. In football, he played running back, leading Dunbar High to three consecutive Class 1A state titles. As a senior, he had 2,660 yards rushing on 218 carries with 34 touchdowns, while also returning 12 punts for 446 yards and two scores. He was a Two-time Maryland Consensus Offensive Player of the Year and Consensus first team All-state. He set state records for career points (790), touchdowns (123), total offensive yards (9,258) and rushing yards (7,962). In track & field, Austin competed as a sprinter and jumper. He ran a career-best time of 11.47 seconds in the 100 meters at the 2009 1A North Region Meet.[3] He was also a member of the Dunbar 400m relay squad.[4]

College career[edit]

Austin enrolled in West Virginia University, where he played for the West Virginia Mountaineers football team from 2009 to 2012. He was converted into a wide receiver as a freshman in 2009.[5] During his freshman season, he had 15 receptions for 151 yards with a touchdown and also rushed for 47 yards on six carries with a touchdown and scored a touchdown on a kick return. As a sophomore in 2010, he had 58 receptions for 787 yards and a team leading eight touchdowns. He also had 15 rushing attempts for 159 yards and a touchdown.

As a junior in 2011, Austin had 100 receptions for 1,180 yards and eight touchdowns. He added 189 rushing yards on 18 carries and another touchdown. He also returned two kicks for touchdowns. He was named a first team All-American by CBS.[6] During the Mountaineers 70-33 win in the 2012 Orange Bowl, he set an Orange Bowl record with four touchdown receptions.[7] He was the 2012 All-Purpose Performer of the Year as announced by the College Football Performance Awards association.[8]

College statistics[edit]

Receiving[edit]

Regular and postseason

WVU receiving stats
Season Games Rec. Yards Avg. TD
2009 13 15 151 10.1 1
2010 13 58 787 13.6 8
2011 13 101 1186 11.7 8
2012 13 114 1289 11.3 12
Total 52 288 3,413 11.9 29

[9]

Rushing[edit]

Regular and postseason

WVU rushing stats
Season Carries Yards Avg. TD
2009 6 47 7.8 1
2010 16 161 10.1 1
2011 16 182 11.4 1
2012 72 643 8.9 3
Total 110 1,033 9.4 6

Returns[edit]

Regular and postseason

WVU return stats
Season Punt ret. PR yards PR TD Kick ret. KR yards KR TD
2009 0 0 0 17 426 1
2010 0 0 0 12 230 0
2011 19 268 0 36 938 2
2012 15 165 1 32 813 1
Total 34 433 1 97 2,407 4

Professional career[edit]

NFL Combine[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
5 ft 8 in 174 lb 30 in 9 1/8 in 4.34 s 1.50 s 2.49 s 4.01 s 32 in 10 ft 0 in 14 reps
All values from NFL combine[10]

Austin was selected by the St. Louis Rams with the 8th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Rams traded up from pick 16 with the Buffalo Bills in order to select Austin. The Rams also selected former West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey later in the third round of the draft with the 92nd overall pick, reuniting the teammates in the NFL.

2013 season[edit]

On June 13, 2013, Austin signed a four-year, $12.751 million contract. The deal included a $7.653 million signing bonus. During his first year in the NFL, Austin played 13 games with 151 rushing yards (on 9 carries), 418 receiving yards, and 678 return yards on 51 combined return opportunities during kick and punt returns.

During Week 10, in a game at the Indianapolis Colts, Austin had a breakout performance that ended up being the best of his rookie campaign. In a 38–8 rout, Austin only had two receptions, but they totaled 138 receiving yards and were both touchdowns. He also ran the ball once for four yards. Austin also returned five kicks and punts for a total of 172 yards, including a 98-yard punt return touchdown. Austin was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, and eventually became the NFC's Special Teams Player of the Month as well.

Austin's 98-yard punt return touchdown was widely considered[citation needed] to be one of the best plays of the 2013 season, as it checked in at #31 on the NFL's Top 100 Plays of 2013 list.

2014 season[edit]

Austin's receiving yards in the 2014 season dropped down to 242 yards from his 418 yards in 2013. Austin continued to excel as a returner as he was named a Pro Bowl alternate as a returner behind Devin Hester and Darren Sproles.[11] His 391 punt return yards ranked 3rd in the NFL in 2014—only behind DeAnthony Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs and Sproles.[12]

Similarly to his 98-yard punt return during his rookie season, Austin was part of another huge special teams play during the 2014 season as well. During the second quarter of a Week 7 game vs. the division rival Seattle Seahawks, a game in which the Rams were already up 14–3, Austin was the designated punt return man on a play. He acted as if he was calling for a fair catch, but the ball had actually been punted to the opposite side of the field, where teammate Stedman Bailey was preparing to return the punt. With the entire Seattle coverage team focused on Austin, Bailey was left with a wide-open field and returned the punt 90 yards for a touchdown. The Rams went on defeat their NFC West rivals 28–26.

2015 season[edit]

Austin had arguably his best season in 2015. He posted career highs in receptions (52), receiving yards (473), and receiving touchdowns (5). Austin further proved to be a dynamic player on offense as he ran the ball 52 times for 434 yards and four touchdowns.[13] After a Thursday Night Football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Austin became the first player to score at least five receiving touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns, and a punt return touchdown in a single season since Gale Sayers did so for the Chicago Bears in 1965.[14]

2016 season[edit]

On May 12, 2016, the Los Angeles Rams picked up Austin's fifth-year option along with fellow Rams teammate and linebacker Alec Ogletree.[15] On August 27, 2016, the Rams and Austin agreed to a four-year, $42 million contract extension.[16] Austin finished the disappointing 4-12 season with 58 catches for 509 yards and 3 touchdowns, but on 107 targets (8.8 yards per catch, 4.8 yards per target). Despite having his first year with over 500 receiving yards, Austin's rushing total of 159 yards and 1 touchdown on 28 rushes (5.7 yards per carry, a career low for Austin) signaled a drop in his overall production from the previous season. He also failed to return a punt for a touchdown, something he had accomplished every year prior, and tied a career high for fumbles with 5. Through four years as a Ram, Austin has only one game of at least 100 yards receiving, and only five games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage.

Career statistics[edit]

Year Team GP GS Receiving Rushing Punt Return Fumbles
Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD Ret Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2013 STL 13 3 40 418 10.5 81 4 9 151 16.8 65 1 33 280 8.5 98 1 4 1
2014 STL 15 8 31 242 7.8 28 0 36 224 6.2 19 2 35 391 11.2 78 1 5 0
2015 STL 16 15 52 473 9.1 66 5 52 434 8.3 60 4 34 268 7.9 75 1 3 2
2016 LA 15 15 58 509 8.8 43 3 28 159 5.7 30 1 44 364 8.3 47 0 5 1
Total 59 41 181 1,642 9.1 81 12 125 968 7.7 65 8 146 1,303 8.9 98 3 17 4

References[edit]

External links[edit]