Coach: Ceiling Not Even Close To Being Touched By Austin

August 11, 2017
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John Garrish knows he uses many of the same phrases to describe Kevin Austin Jr. that other coaches use to describe their players. The difference, Garrish says, is he actually means them.

Garrish, the strength coach at North Broward Prep High School, has virtually no doubt the 2018 Florida wide receiver’s best playing days lie ahead. Austin just announced he’ll be playing those days in South Bend, having verbally committed to Notre Dame over Duke, Miami and Tennessee.

“Obviously, he’s going to live up to what has been said about him from an athletic standpoint, but his leadership ability can’t be measured,” Garrish says of the four-star receiver.

“It’s not something you can measure in stars. You can’t measure a kid’s heart or his leadership capability or sportsmanship or all-around character.”

Garrish says the Irish are going to get “the best of the best from that standpoint.”

“He’s a person who is going to do everything the right way,” the coach continues. “He kind of lives what so many coaches say and the clichés are the truth about Kevin.

“He’s always the first one in the building, he’ll be the last one out of a building and that’s really not a cliché. I’m not just saying that because he’s a kid I like and is a good athlete. That’s every bit of who he is.”

Garrish says those on the outside are beginning to understand what those on the inside have been saying for years.

He has that genetic brilliance and hard-working tenacity that is going to reach immeasurable heights. - John Garrish on Kevin Austin Jr.

“People are starting to see it’s not just the coaches at North Broward Prep or his parents saying that about him,” he says.

“It’s the real deal. He’s 100 percent the real deal on that end. You can’t really quantify his ability on the field, that’s challenging enough, but you can’t quantify his ability as a teammate or a leader and, in our instance, as a senior captain. You just can’t measure that.”

After returning from The Opening in Oregon earlier this summer, Garrish saw Austin take it up another level.

“It’s been incredible,” he says. “I’m sure that’s what Nike’s objective was; to really prepare them for what is to come. You kind of saw some lights go off. He really had a grasp of even kicking it into another gear. He came back with a refreshed intensity and a refreshed passion.

“I think it’s easy for a kid to go out there and, ‘It’s all about me.’ And they come back like, ‘Yeah, I was at The Opening.’ As soon as he could get back, he was back working with his teammates.”

But seeing Austin’s continued development isn’t surprising in the least to Garrish and the other members of the North Broward staff. They are confident that will continue when he gets to Notre Dame.

“On our end, the strides are expected,” he says. “It’s kind of like sitting back and observing what we know is going to happen. The ceiling is not even close to being touched for Kevin. He has that genetic brilliance and hard-working tenacity that is going to reach immeasurable heights.

“There really isn’t a ceiling we see in the near future. Every day he gets better, every week he gets better. Again, that’s not a cliché. That’s what we expect because in seeing him over the course of the past three years, it’s been that trajectory.

“The improvements he’s made as a sophomore and junior to what we’re going to see from him on the field now is incredible, but like I said, it really is expected. He’s going to make bigger strides next year, he’s going to make bigger strides the year after that. The trajectory is going to keep on going.”

Austin never showed any outward signs of pressure throughout the recruiting process and Garrish didn’t detect any either. Part of that is probably due to the fact that Austin has a great deal of trust in himself.

“He completely understands the gravity of the decision, but he is also 100 percent confident in his decision-making ability that he did make the right decision. I think he’s found comfort in that.”

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