Tavon Austin was a human highlight reel at West Virginia right when this writer’s football fandom was really kicking into high gear. Although he didn’t live up to the hype as the eighth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Austin still made several splash plays in the pros to carve out a nine-year career as a wideout/gadget guy/return man.
Based on what hashtags were used by Austin’s partner, who goes by the username @anakar1a_ on TikTok, it appears Austin went with his Mountaineer glory days to reveal to his daughter, Ayva, just how electrifying he was on the football field at the peak of his powers. Her reaction is priceless.
When you have a nine-minute highlight reel of your senior year of college with over 23 million views, you know you did something right. In an absolutely bonkers final season in Morgantown back in 2012, Austin went off for 114 catches, 1,289 yards and 12 TD receptions. That’s not all. He added in 643 rushing yards on only 72 carries (8.9 YPC) and another three scores.
STILL NOT DONE. Tack on 165 punt return yards on 15 attempts with a TD, along with 813 kickoff yards on only 33 tries with yet one more trip to the end zone.
Tavon Austin was a flat-out beast. A 5-foot-8, 174-pound stick of human dynamite ready to explode for a long touchdown catch and/or run any time he touched the ball. It’s kind of a bummer, in fact, that he wasn’t in a better situation in the NFL.
Austin was with the Rams franchise during their transition from St. Louis to Los Angeles. While he did return a kickoff for a touchdown in each of his first three seasons, the offenses on those teams were suboptimal. He only got one year under Sean McVay, wherein a rookie Cooper Kupp, prime Robert Woods and former first-round Sammy Watkins were vying for targets along with stud tailback Todd Gurley. Nevertheless, Austin was LA’s second-leading rusher in McVay’s first year with 270 yards.
With the modern rules continuing to skew toward offenses, I wonder how much better Austin would’ve fared if he entered the league a decade or so later, or if he’d gotten the chance to play with a high-end quarterback/coach combo sooner. Oh well. We’ll always have the highlight reel to end all highlight reels, and for that, all we can do is give thanks to Tavon Austin.
The fact that Austin’s viral highlights somehow got an even better twist on them with his daughter’s reaction just adds to the greatness of it. BEHOLD: