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Football Long Beach Poly

Long Beach Poly Alum Alex Austin Drafted By Buffalo Bills

Mike Guardabascio

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management. 

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.

Long Beach Poly alum Alex Austin joined the lengthy list of Jackrabbits who’ve been selected in the NFL Draft on Saturday, as he was taken in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills. The rangy defensive back lands in a great situation with a perennial Super Bowl contender that’s built a playmaking defense to complement its powerhouse offense led by QB Josh Allen.

Austin is now one of more than 20 Poly alums to make the NFL as a defensive back, joining most recently standout rookie Jack Jones with the Patriots, and Iman “Biggie” Marshall with the Ravens.

Austin made the decision to come out early from an All-American career at Oregon State, where he had just completed his redshirt sophomore season.

“It was a long, long process of deciding for sure, and I ended up just having to go with my heart feeling, and that was me wanting to bet on myself,” said Austin after declaring.


The former Moore League Player of the Year made the decision after getting an omen at a New Year’s Eve celebration, where someone told him they could see that 2023 was going to be a lucky year for him.

“That was a little sign right there and I went for it,” he said.

Austin said his confidence in his ability to play at the next level has come in part from watching guys he’s guarded successfully in college have success in the NFL. As Oregon State’s top DB the last two seasons, he’s often been lined up against the Pac-12’s best, including Drake London and other top USC and Washington receivers.

“Those are some of the best guys in the country and I’ve made plays against them,” he said. “I’ve always had confidence in myself but as those guys have moved on I’ve thought, ‘If they’re doing this, why can’t I?’”

Austin was a two-time All-Pac-12 defensive back and was also honored as a Wuerffel Trophy Watch List player, the award given annually to an NCAA football player who’s gone above and beyond in community service. Austin created an NIL partnership that provided thousands of dollars of scholarships to disadvantaged students. He credited his father and mother (Long Beach councilman Al Austin and longtime civic leader Daysha Austin) with the drive to give back, even while he was still technically an amateur.

The thing that gave him the most pause about leaving college wasn’t whether or not he could make it, but missing the opportunity to play against his little brother in a major college rivalry game. Daylen Austin signed with Oregon in December, which meant that the “Civil War” in Oregon between the two programs could have seen brother against brother.

“It would have been great to play against him, that would have been a cool storyline for my family and the fans, but I had to take my opportunity,” said Alex. “It’s real now. These past two months I’ve heard so much from so many people about go back to school or come out now, I’m glad to have made the decision and be able to work now.”

Long Beach Poly Alum Alex Austin Declares For NFL Draft
Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.