It’s been almost a decade in the making for Kevin Austin Jr.
The 2017 version of Austin Jr. holds 35 college scholarship offers, and spent the summer leading up to his senior year participating in the Rivals Five-Star Challenge and Nike Football’s The Opening Finals, two of high school football’s most elite prospect camps.
But flip the calendar back 10 or so years to when the kid who would grow up to become the nation’s No. 28 wide receiver and No. 141 overall player had just strapped on a football helmet for the first time.
At the outset of his playing days, Austin Jr. was stuck on the line of scrimmage, apparently destined to spend his football career with his hand in ground.
Desperate to get the dirt off his hands and the ball into them, Austin, along with the help of his father Kevin Austin Sr. and mother Andrea, set out on a path that would eventually lead him to where he is today.
“He looked at me and said ‘dad I really want to play running back,” Austin Sr. said. “So I said ‘listen, you keep working hard. During the offseason you work hard when nobody is watching and do all the things you need to do to get better.”
Over the next several summers, that’s exactly what Austin did, with his parents right there with him the whole way.
“In the summertime, we spent a lot of time working on drills and a lot of speed training and a lot of skill things for him to improve on,” Austin Sr. said. “I said ‘you just keep working hard and your time will come.”
The goal of those summers, Austin Sr. said, was simple.
“We went on a mission to improve everything about him individually and start working on all the things that we needed him to improve on to improve his trajectory as an athlete,” Austin Sr. told BGI. “We wanted to always improve and get better each and every year, and that’s what’s happened. Now he’s starting to see the fruits of his labor.”
Fruits, rewards, accolades, payoffs; Whatever you want to call them, Austin has undoubtedly earned them.
Top programs all over the country are vying for Austin’s signature, which can tend be overwhelming for a teenager.
Recruits get attention coming at them from all angles with coaches, fans, and reporters constantly contacting them to get the latest on their impending decisions. Decisions people at times forget are the biggest decisions these high schoolers have ever made, and possibly will ever make.
There are more than a few examples out there of prospects who have let the circus of the recruiting process go to their heads, but Austin has bucked that trend.
The four-star goes about his life, inside and outside of the white lines, with a business-like approach, and has never let the platform he’s been given become a rooftop from which to shout about his own greatness or personal achievements.
Austin Jr’s. humility, while refreshing, came as no surprise to either of his parents. After all, that’s the way he was raised.
“The one thing that we made sure we were very conscious of is that every individual is a brand, and you have to make sure you know what your brand is all about,” Austin Sr. said. “You need to know exactly who you are as an individual and who you are as a person and try not to be anything but who you are.”
Austin Jr. took that lesson, put his head down, and went to work.
Almost 10 years later, the North Broward Prep team captain is staring at an opportunity that, according to the NCAA, less than seven percent of all high school football players get.
Again, his parents were there the whole way through.
And again, they aren’t the least bit surprised.
“We knew all these good things would find their way to him,” Austin Sr. explained. “We expected nothing less than all of the good things that are happening for Kevin because of the work that he’s put in, not only in the classroom but also on the football field.”