Calvin Austin III

Calvin Austin III

  • WR Tigers
  • Junior
  • #--
  • 5'9"
  • 162lbs
  • Prospect
  • American Athletic
TDN 100 TDN100 Prospect

2021 Season

REC

74

YDS

1149

TD

8

YDS/REC

15.527

Top Traits

Route Running

Runs detail oriented routes to optimize breaks and throwing windows.

Route Running

Calvin Austin III

While Austin can run away from coverage with his speed and quickness alone, he’s also a detailed route-runner. He is explosive into his route stems and puts notable stress on defenders to stay attached. He has a wonderful understanding of leverage and makes good adjustments on the fly. He is crisp and sudden through route breaks and is deceptive with his footwork and twitch.

Separation

Don't blink or you'll miss him.

Separation

Calvin Austin III

Austin is a separation specialist. Not only can he run past anyone down the field and can make defenders look like they are chasing a rabbit in the short areas, but Austin is also a detailed route-runner. He knows how to settle in zone and make himself available to the quarterback.

Release Package

Don't let his size fool you into thinking he's got to work from the slot.

Release Package

Calvin Austin III

Given Austin’s measurables, it would be easy to assume that he was a slot-only player in college but that was anything but the truth. More than 90% of his reps in 2021 came outside and more than 77% of his reps in college overall were out wide. He uses foot-fire and twitch to clear jams, and corners have to be extremely cautious with him at the line of scrimmage because they can be left in the dust in a hurry. He does such a good job of reducing his surface area and exploding out of his stance that it just becomes very difficult for defenders to get their hands on him and create jams. Of course, he will be challenged in new ways in the NFL, but he has a diverse release package.

Prospect Summary

Calvin Austin III had a decorated football and track career at Memphis, but don’t confuse him as a track guy that plays football—Austin is an outstanding football player that also runs track. Austin is an explosive athlete that can take the top off the defense but is also lethal with the ball in his hands. His skill set demands touches in the quick passing game, on handoffs, and in the vertical passing game.

Austin isn’t just a speedster, he is a nuanced receiver that runs great routes, has terrific hands, and has excellent ball skills. He features a diverse release package where he uses foot-fire, angles, and twitch to get off the line and into his routes. I love how he controls his speed and maximizes his opportunities to produce after the catch. When it comes to areas of concern, it comes back to his size. Austin is an undersized receiver that doesn’t offer much length.

The good news for Austin is that he is outstanding at creating separation but contested catches and the physical components of playing receiver will be a challenge for him. Simply put, Austin is a dynamic playmaker and big-play machine. He has the makings of an electric top-three option for an NFL passing game that can also contribute in gadgety ways and as a punt returner. He will make an NFL team more explosive, but there are some limitations to be mindful of because of his frame.

Ideal Role: No. 2/3 receiver that gets touches in a variety of ways

Scheme Fit: Spread

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Joe Marino 

Games watched: SMU (2020), Cincinnati (2020), UCF (2020), Navy (2021), Mississippi State (2021), Tulsa (2021)

Best Game Studied: Mississippi State (2021)

Worst Game Studied: UCF (2020)

Route Running: See Above.

Hands: Austin has natural hands and he routinely catches the ball in stride and carries speed through the ball to maximize his chances to produce with the ball in his hands. I was very impressed with his ability to extend for the ball despite a small catch radius. While he isn’t immune to an occasional drop, he is mostly consistent.

Separation: See Above.

Release Package: See Above.

Run After Catch: Austin is electric with the ball in his hands. He has lethal speed and quickness that is complemented by good field vision. He consistently destroys pursuit angles and is fearless as a runner. He has the type of skill set that demands manufactured touches that’ll make the defense hold their breath.

Ball Skills: Austin does a good job of tracking and adjusting to the ball in the air and has wonderful body control. With that said, his catch radius is tiny and winning through contact is a challenge given his size. He does well to maximize his catch radius and compete at the catch point but the reality is that there are limitations. The good news for Austin is that he does such a great job of separating that those limitations aren’t often manifested on the field.

Football IQ: Make no mistake about it, Austin is a track and field star AND he’s a football star. Any notion that Austin is a track guy trying to play football is a poor assumption and not rooted in what Austin proved at Memphis. Austin has natural pass-catching instincts and good route-running technique. His heads-up punt return against Mississippi State in 2021 is a perfect example of his situational awareness.

Versatility: Austin has plenty of experience playing out wide but also projects well from the slot. He can impact an offense in so many ways including down the field, on quick passes, and on handoffs where he has the ability to produce big plays. Austin was never given a single rep as a kick returner in college. He does have some experience as a punt returner, where he has two return touchdowns but also a concerning amount of muffs across a relatively small sample size.

Competitive Toughness: Austin is an extremely undersized player but he is fearless on the field which is evident in how he competes with the ball in his hands. Obviously, his diminutive frame presents some restrictions and he isn’t going to make an impact as a blocker and small amounts of contact can take him off the menu on a given play.

Big Play Ability: Austin is a big-play machine. He is a dynamic vertical threat and yards after catch guy but he also has three rushing touchdowns on eight career carries and averaged more than 21 yards per attempt. He has two punt return touchdowns in only 29 return attempts. He is lightning in a bottle.

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: 79.17/100 (Third Round Value)

Crabbs Grade: 79.00/100

Marino Grade: 78.50/100

Harris Grade: 78.00/100

Sanchez Grade: 79.50/100

Weissman Grade: 79.00/100

Parson Grade: 81.00/100