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Terrence Austin's pedigree

A few notes about Redskins rookie wide receiver Terrence Austin, the seventh-round pick from UCLA who could be a candidate for playing time on special teams.

High school star

Austin went to Long Beach Poly, one of the top athletic factories in the country. In addition to Chase Utley, Milton Bradley, Tony Gwynn and Billie Jean King, the school has produced about 50 NFL players, such as Willie McGinest, Mark Carrier, Leonard Russell, Gene Washington, Omar Stoutmire, Marcedes Lewis and DeSean Jackson.

Austin came after a pair of star receivers, Derrick Jones and Jackson, and said he modeled himself after their games. His high school coach said he was a step slower than the other two, but was more physical and ran more precise routes.

"He's probably the strongest of the three," the coach told the L.A. Times. "What I mean by that is, he's better at breaking tackles."

Some scouting services ranked Austin as a top 10 recruit in the nation, and when he signed with UCLA, he helped the Bruins' earn a No. 13 recruit class rating from USA Today.

Returning whiz

In high school, Austin returned kicks but not punts. During a game against Lakewood his senior year, Austin returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in the first half, one a 99-yarder to open the game and another one for 82 yards just before the half to give his team a 21-3 lead.

He didn't do punt returns until he got to UCLA, when he was frustrated by his lack of reps at receiver and was looking for a way to get on the field. By his junior year, he was doing both kickoff and punt returns, and he finished second in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards, behind only Cal's Jahvid Best.

"I love both," he told me. "The good thing about it I don't have to rely on anyone to get me the ball but the punter or the kicker. There's so many other things that you've got to worry about on offense, four or five other guys that has an option to get the ball. All it has to do is be returnable, and I get to do what I want to do with it once I get it....

"My vision is fairly good for a return guy. I'm shifty, I use angles very well, and I'm really quick. And I'm not indecisive on which way I want to go."

Track jumper

Poly was also renowned for its track program, and there were plenty of sprinting specialists, so Austin concentrated elsewhere, competing in hurdles, long jump and high jump.

He reached the state finals in the high jump twice, finishing tied for fourth as a senior. And he won the National Scholastic Indoor Championship pentathlon title that same year.

He said he was asked to come out for the annual spring meet with USC as a sophomore, and that he won the high jump with a mark of 6-9 and 3/4 off two days of practice. His vertical is 38-and-a-half.

Wide-eyed Redskin

Despite all the Poly guys in the NFL, Austin still found himself in awe when he showed up in Ashburn.

"Clinton Portis and DeAngelo Hall, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, all of these guys I've been watching on TV," he said. "It's a weird feeling. It's hard to explain. I can't really explain it. I see them and my eyes go bug, but I'm like I'm really here, I'm on the team with these guys. I'm just trying to catch my saddle and crank down and just pretty much pay attention to what I need to do and not be starstruck. I remember when I seen Donovan, I knew he was on the team, I just walked into the meeting room, and I'm like that's him! Then I looked to my left, Clinton Portis walked by, and I was like Damn, that's Clinton Portis! Then I was like T, just pay attention, man!

This was only his second time in D.C. -- the first came this winter, when Austin caught a touchdown pass in RFK during the Eagle Bank Bowl win over Temple. Austin lined up with the kick and punt returners in the limited special team drills done last week, along with guys like Hall, Devin Thomas and Anthony Armstrong, but he said coaches haven't discussed his possible route to a roster spot.

"Nobody's said anything," he said. "It's just pretty much come out here, learn the playbook, try to absorb as much as you can and let's see what you can do."

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 12, 2010; 4:19 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Bruce Allen talks teamwork


"And I'm not indecisive on which way I want to go."

aka, the anti-randel el

Posted by: --swb | May 12, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dan does the kid have a 40 time?

I am betting its about 4.4 or worse which is why this loser went in the 7th round.

Deadskins go 3-13 and 5-2 and Mikey retires.

Posted by: sheepherder | May 12, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the typo 5-12 in his second year and retires to life of golf and Depends.

Posted by: sheepherder | May 12, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

The guy scored a TD in RFK...give him a shot.

Posted by: boricuabopper | May 12, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Completely off-topic, but I've gotta comment on the Bog I have, not the Bog I wish I had...
- - - - Pearls from the Stein - - - -

"But obviously if the Pens lose the chorus will get a bit quieter. Still, there's obviously no chance they'll lose. I mean, it's a 100 percent lock Pittsburgh wins on Wednesday. Bet the mortgage. Bet the neighbor's mortgage. Take it to Vegas. That series is over...

No, it's impossible. The Penguins have the thing locked up. Frankly, I'm surprised they're even springing for airfare to Pittsburgh. If I were the NHL, I'd call it off, because that series is O.V.E.R...

I agree on your article premise and would hope we do that, but I think it demands a Canadiens' victory, which, as I've already said, is 100 percent impossible."
- - - - - - - - - -

Truer words were never (well, hardly ever) spoken.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 12, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Dear Bob-S,
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA the canadiens won, the pens lost. all is right in the world. if the caps had to lose at least it was to a team that beat the defending stanley cup champions and made it to the eastern conference finals.

"Truer words were never (well, hardly ever) spoken" just to quote you

Posted by: stujackson3 | May 12, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey Sheepherder, 5-12? So are we going to slide into the playoffs with a 5-11 record and drop the opening round? Are they extending the season by one more game?
These appear to be the math skills of a Dallas Public School graduate.

Posted by: Eradicator | May 13, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

UCLA season ticket holder here... Austin runs a 4.38. Very fast - good special teams guy. Not big, but I don't remember him ever being hurt. I think he was a three year starter. Never sure how good a receiver he really was because the Bruins QBs and O-lines were terrible during his entire career. He flashed some excellent athleticism, but the offense just sucked in general. He was hinting at that when he said he lobbied to return punts just to touch the ball more.

Logan Paulsen is an NFL caliber TE. For sure. Don't know if he can make the Redskins though. I guess it depends on how good Sean Ryan is. Paulsen will play somewhere though.

Posted by: bigfoot1 | May 13, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I just hope he's not star-struck. He'll never make a roster if he thinks he can't compare to any of the guys already there. That said, he seems like he should be able to cut it...I'm anxious to see what he can bring to the table.

Posted by: bacaje | May 13, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

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