MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There are certain accomplishments in life that stand out above most all others. Like earning an athletic scholarship after life as a walk-on. The latest to earn that honor is Tigers Wide Receiver Calvin Austin.
Austin already had a partial track scholarship to the U of M -- he turned that into an Honorable Mention All-American Roll on the Tigers NCAA qualifying for the 4X100 Meter Relay Team.
But Austin, a former Harding Academy star, wanted to play football. The 5 foot, 9 inches tell, 163 pound speedster showing where there’s a will, there’s a way, destroying the Houston secondary with five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in Memphis win over the Cougars 45 to 27.
“It was just a surreal moment.” Says Austin after being told he’d been placed on a full ride football scholarship in the locker room after the Houston Game.
“I’ve been dreaming about it for a while, so I just gotta thank God. Thank my family. They’ve been keeping me grounded, and then I have to thank Coach Norvell, because he gave me a chance that most other coaches wouldn’t," he said.
Tigers Head Coach Mike Norvell knew he had something when he saw Austin work in a U of M Football Camp.
“First thing that jumped out was his speed obviously.” Norvell says. “I think he weighed all of a 130 pounds at the time, and you watch this young man who possessed such explosiveness. He’s told me he’s catching a 100 balls a day for the last couple of years. That’s work. I’m not requiring him to do that, but I’m also not requiring him to be successful. Right? That’s something he’s doing by himself.”
Austin adds, “To see how the guys reacted and stuff, that’s my family right there. It was just crazy. I just love this team and love Memphis. It’s just great.”
The Tigers next play at USF Saturday in Tampa. Kickoff is 3 p.m. on ESPN-U.