It is always a good idea to recruit Long Beach Poly High School. The Jackrabbits boast more former and current NFL players combined than any other high school in the country.
Speed is always the name of the game with the Jackrabbits. Few high schools in America have the ability to play man-to-man defense against the talented wide receivers from Poly. The best Poly has to offer this year is Terrence Austin, who is 5-11, 170 pounds.
Hands - It's simple: Austin catches the football. And he does so correctly. Austin reaches out to meet the football instead of letting the football make contact with his body, which increases the chance for a drop. It may sound like a moot point when discussing a talented wide receiver, but Austin catches the football well. Not all highly recruited wide receivers do the same. Even if the ball is over thrown or behind his body, Austin has the physical talent to catch the football and keep on running. His flexibility helps him out a lot with the difficult catches.
Change of Direction - There is no debating Austin's ability to make people miss. He darts and jukes effortlessly between would be tacklers. Even if he is going full tilt Austin has the ability to change direction without losing much speed during the cut, and then is back at full speed again within one full stride. It's rare that a defender can take Austin down one-on-one in the open field.
Leaping Ability - The big wide receivers that you now see all over college football often times have "jump balls" thrown to them in the end zone because of the height disparity between them and a much smaller cornerback. Do not be fooled by Austin's 5-11 frame. He can go up and take the ball out of a crowd. Austin is a high jumper (6-8 ½ is his best) so that explains his leaping ability.
Yards After the Catch - Austin has a knack for gaining extra yardage after the ball is in his hands. Even when surrounded by defenders, he is able to squirt through for an extra yard or two before going down. Austin's biggest attribute with the ball in his hands is fending off tacklers. Even with a slight build, Austin breaks tackles and turns short gains into big plays and touchdowns.
Football Speed - Austin is not a 10.4 100 meter kid. He has run a 10.79 before if you are interested in track times, but that is not what makes a wide receiver. Austin has a fantastic first step and makes plays with the ball in his hands by running around and in between tacklers. He has excellent football speed, and he makes plays with the ball in his hands.
SMITTY'S TAKE - Austin has a lot of upside. His track background is a good sign. Not just anyone can compete for Poly's track program. Some lucky college is going to land a talented wide receiver in Terrence Austin.
To view Austin's film, click on his name in this article to view his player profile. Scroll down and you'll find four different video clips of Austin in action.