Before he was a defensive tackle with NFL aspirations, Josh Augusta was the largest high school wide receiver you’ve ever seen.
Augusta, who signed with the New England Patriots last month as an undrafted free agent, starred on both sides of the ball as a teenager playing, defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, tight end, fullback, wideout and even kick returner for Peoria High School in Illinois.
Oh, and he did all this while weighing roughly 320 pounds.
We dug up some of Augusta’s high school highlights, and boy, are they something. Watch No. 97 split out wide at the bottom of the screen in this play:
And how about this one, where Augusta goes in motion (!) before hauling in a screen pass and rumbling for 25 yards:
“There would be times where he’d have a little pile on him and it looked like lions in the Serengeti trying to jump on the back of a water buffalo or something,” Augusta’s high school coach, Tim Thornton, said last fall in an interview with the Missourian. “In games, he’d just be chugging down the field with a bunch of people on his back.”
Thornton added: “He always kept saying ‘Give me the biscuit, I’ll get you that first down.’ And he did every time. He did a great job out there.”
That he did. Augusta also was a force on the defensive line, as his full high school highlight film (which the above receptions were plucked from) clearly illustrates.
Augusta switched to D-line full-time in 2013 upon arriving at the University of Missouri, but he did make a few cameos on offense late in his college career. He carried the ball 10 times in short-yardage situations as a senior in 2016, picking up 15 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
“It blows peoples’ minds,” the 22-year-old told the Missourian. “It’s always an ‘Oh my God, he’s that big’ kind of reaction.”
“(Losing weight) brings back my quickness,” he told the Missourian before last month’s NFL draft. “I want to be able to stay on the field as long as possible. If I can keep down my weight and really show that my quickness has improved, I feel like I can make an impact on any NFL field.”
The Patriots currently are deep at defensive tackle, with Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Vincent Valentine, Woodrow Hamilton, 2016 practice-squadder Darius Kilgo and newcomer Lawrence Guy all under contract for the upcoming season. Augusta and fellow UDFA Adam Butler of Vanderbilt will compete for roster spots this summer.
Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images