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irish insider

‘We’re non-stop’: Kevin Austin Jr. solidifies position as a valuable playmaker

| Friday, October 22, 2021

Senior wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. has had an explosive start to the season. In the season opener at Florida State, Austin notched a career-high of 91 yards in four catches. That same game, he scored his first touchdown in the third quarter, demonstrating that he could be an invaluable force on the field for the Irish.

And he has proven to be so. Austin has become a go-to receiver for whichever quarterback is at the helm, consistently facilitating key plays in the Irish’s road to victory. To date this season, Austin boasts 18 receptions, three touchdowns and 317 yards to his name. Most recently against Virginia Tech, the receiver was instrumental in securing the comeback road win. Freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner completed a 46-yard pass to Austin, setting the team up at the 4-yard line for their first touchdown of the night. Austin later soared into the endzone for a two-point conversion that would tie the score 29-29 and ultimately springboard the Irish towards the win. Austin spoke about his role in this 2021 offense, and what it means for him going forward.

“I’m always trying to be the guy to go in and try to make plays happen,” he said. 

Being a force in an inconsistent offense is perhaps Austin’s greatest strength in his role, as well as for all receivers. Most notably in the Shamrock Series against Wisconsin, when the quarterback shifted constantly, he focused on the trust shared among the team that kept the game moving forward.

“It was the same type of conversations that we’ve had,” he said. “Just trust. Trust your bros, trust me, trust all the receivers on the team and that we’re going to make the play and come down with the ball.”

Though the team has been dubbed a “work in progress,” Austin noted the determined mindset that keeps him and his teammates going tirelessly. According to the receiver, Kelly has been pushing his players to step up each day to be “that team of being physical, and fast, and tough and mentally strong,” and it provides motivation to continue to progress. Whether it be in blasting opponent fight songs in practice, to rebounding after an incomplete play, the notion is always the same: Keep moving forward and keep getting better.

“We’re non-stop. We’re gonna continue to grind. We’re gonna continue to fight,” Austin said. “We’re gonna continue no matter what quarter it is, what down it is, no matter how bad we’re down or whatever the case may be. We’re gonna continue to just keep driving and keep fighting to get to our goal.”

Austin himself is thankful to play the part he does in this process. Being a playmaker on the field, he is able to aid his team and contribute to the victory, a task he does not take lightly. After being sidelined with an injury for a decent part of last year, he is not taking any moment for granted in this new season. He thinks he has taken a large step forward with respect to how much he can contribute, and looks forward to continuing to prove himself as the season progresses.

“Obviously the ultimate goal is helping my team win, and being able to be a part of that,” he said. I just feel great being out here, great competing with all my brothers.”

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