Austin Joyner always had hopes of playing in the NFL. Now, more than a year after being forced to give up football for medical reasons, he’s going to give the NFL a shot.
The former Marysville Pilchuck High School star, who was forced into retirement from the University of Washington because of concussions, is making himself available for this year’s NFL draft.
Joyner, who hasn’t played since September of 2018, made his intentions public last week via Twitter. His Twitter profile now describes him as a “2020 NFL draft prospect.” On Jan. 7 he tweeted out, “ALL I NEED IS A SHOT and the rest will be history. Now I wonder which NFL clubs are going to give me my shot. #2020NFLDraft”
ALL I NEED IS A SHOT and the rest will be history. Now I wonder which NFL clubs are going to give me my shot. 😤 #2020NFLDraft
— Austin Joyner (@JoynerAustij) January 7, 2020
Joyner also put a link to a YouTube highlights compilation video in his Twitter bio, and he tweeted out that he’s seeking an agent.
Marysville Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson, who coached Joyner when Joyner played for the Tomahawks, confirmed that Joyner is preparing for the NFL draft. Carson said Joyner was not ready to comment at this time.
Joyner is one of the top high school football players ever produced by Snohomish County. The 2015 Marysville Pilchuck graduate was named the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year as a senior when he rushed for 1,768 yards and 32 touchdowns while leading the Tomahawks to the semifinals of the Class 3A state playoffs. He was The Herald’s Offensive Player of the Year in both 2013 and 2014.
Joyner, listed at 5-foot-10 and 186 pounds, was recruited to Washington as a cornerback and rated a four-star recruit by both ESPN and 247Sports.com. He was forced to sit out almost the entirety of his freshman season because of a knee injury suffered in the first game of the 2015 season. In 2016 he appeared in 12 games for the Huskies as a redshirt freshman, primarily on special teams.
Then in 2017 Joyner moved into the Washington secondary, starting at cornerback in the Huskies’ final 10 games. He finished the season with 40 tackles, two sacks, one interception and two passes defensed. His interception came in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Penn State.
Joyner began the 2018 season as a reserve and appeared in four games before suffering a concussion against Arizona State on Sept. 22. On Oct. 11, then-Washington coach Chris Petersen announced Joyner was retiring from football.
Joyner “has had a couple (concussions) since he has been here, and this was our doctor saying this was what had to happen,” Petersen said.
“The thing that is good about this situation is this probably would have never happened eight years ago,” Petersen added. “Guys get concussions and you go. You heal up and you go. But I think everybody is just on top of this, and it’s, ‘How many has he had? How serious is this?’ Everybody is hypersensitive to this, which I think is a good thing.”
Carson said Joyner graduated from Washington last June and has been working out regularly. Carson also said Joyner, who would have had senior eligibility in Washington’s just-completed season, is scheduled to participate in the Huskies’ Pro Day, which will take place prior to the NFL draft. The draft is April 23-25.
Joyner is one of several Snohomish County products who could be selected in this year’s draft. Washington quarterback and Lake Stevens High School graduate Jacob Eason is an early-round candidate. Oregon State quarterback and Marysville Pilchuck grad Jake Luton and Air Force defensive tackle and Glacier Peak High School grad Mosese Fifita could be selected in the late rounds or earn rookie camp invitations.