TURNING DREAMS INTO REALITY
After returning from his mission, Austin discovered that his fear of losing his athletic prowess was unfounded. He excelled on the gridiron just as he had as a freshman, blasting away record after school record, including most career receiving yards (surpassed by Dennis Pitta in 2009), career receptions, and career touchdowns. He was one of the highest-rated wide receivers in college football during his junior season and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl and All-Mountain West Conference fi rst team receiver in 2008. Austin was well on his way to the NFL—a lifelong goal that, surprising to many, his parents whole-heartedly supported.
“As a parent, you want your kids to aspire to achieve their dreams,” Scott says. “We’ve tried to put them in positions where they might be able to begin to reach those dreams. We’ve instilled into all of our kids that they can become whatever they want to become.”
Austin was determined to do more than dream of playing in the NFL—he worked to make it a reality, working tirelessly to push himself to a level of excellence that would get him noticed. “Since I was ten years old, I’ve been just grinding to get where I am,” he says. “I knew I wasn’t the most athletically talented kid, so I knew I had to put in more work to make up for that.”
He was also prepared to deal with the possibility that he might never make it. “As long as I know I’ve done everything in my power and it doesn’t work out, it gives me the sense of security that the Lord doesn’t want me to do it, because I would know that I did everything possible.”
After three stellar years with the Cougars, Austin decided that the time was right to take his shot at the pros. “I didn’t want to be drafted at twenty-five,” he says. “That’s pretty old.” So on January 9, 2009, Austin announced in a press conference that he would forgo his senior year and enter the 2009 NFL Draft. And on April 26 he was selected as the 27th pick in the fourth round by the Indianapolis Colts. After years of hard work and dedication, his dreams were finally coming true.