Sophomore receiver Kevin Austin Jr. expected to miss entirety of upcoming season
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, August 28, 2019
The Notre Dame roster was handed another blow as Irish Illustrated reported Monday that sophomore wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. will miss the entirety of the 2019 season.
Austin, a 6-foot-2-inch wide receiver from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was left off the team’s travel roster in its final two road games of last season but returned for the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29. It was initially reported that Austin was expected to miss the first four games of this season due to a University-imposed suspension. However, despite having posted strong reports throughout the offseason, the most recent update reports that Austin will not be making an appearance this season. His absence comes at a particularly inconvenient time as the Irish recently suffered collarbone injuries to two of their key receivers — juniors Michael Young and Cole Kmet. While the timeline on their recovery is still uncertain, both are expected to miss the opening game against Louisville, with Young’s potential return as far out as the end of October.
While Austin’s minutes were relatively limited in his rookie season, he still managed to make an impact — snagging 90 yards on five catches and making appearances in 10 games. He made his first career reception against Vanderbilt at home and had a career-high 38-yard catch against Navy in San Diego. That career-high moment was followed shortly by head coach Brian Kelly’s announcement that Austin would no longer be traveling with the team for the remainder of the season.
According to Irish Illustrated, Austin is expected to remain enrolled at the University.
The loss of Austin, Kmet and Young will put added pressure on graduate student captain Chris Finke and senior wide receiver Chase Claypool as they look to help alleviate the pressure on the Irish running corps. Finke and Claypool accounted for over 36% of all receptions made last season. Meanwhile, the trio of Austin, Kmet and Young grabbed a total of 390 of the 3,347 reception yards.