Charlotte native trying out for the Panthers. What to know about Austin Proehl
On Sunday, the XFL announced five of their current players, including former North Carolina wide receiver Austin Proehl, would be trying out for various NFL teams for the upcoming season. Proehl, a Charlotte native and current member of the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks, would be coming home to try out for the Carolina Panthers along with a session with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Proehl is joined by center Donohvan West of the Vegas Vipers and offensive tackle Derrick Kelly of the San Antonio Brahmas as the players coming to Bank of America Stadium to try out for coach Frank Reich’s 2023 Panthers squad.
The son of former Panthers wide receiver and assistant coach Ricky Proehl, here are four things to know about the potential Panthers signee.
He’s a local kid
Proehl graduated from Providence High School in Charlotte where he accumulated 1,190 receiving yards on 89 receptions with 8 touchdowns over the course of his senior season in 2014. He was named All-Mecklenburg by the Observer for his senior year after earning South Mecklenburg all-conference honors.
Providence ended with an 8-5 record and lost to the eventual state champion, Mallard Creek, in the second round of the NCHSAA 4-AA state playoffs.
According to ESPN, he received offers from Wake Forest, Ohio and VIrginia Tech before signing with the University of North Carolina.
Comes from a football lineage
Proehl is the son of Ricky Proehl, who served as an offensive assistant for the Panthers from 2011-2012 before becoming the wide receivers’ coach from 2013-2016 under then-coach Ron Rivera.
The elder Proehl played 17 seasons in the NFL, including from 2003-2005 for the Panthers. He played in four Super Bowls, winning one with the Rams and another with the Colts. Over his career, he caught 669 passes for 8,878 yards and 54 touchdowns.
Austin’s brother Blake currently is under contract as a future/reserve player for the Minnesota Vikings. He signed with the team as an undrafted free agent after three seasons at East Carolina.
Four years at UNC earning him an NFL draft pick
Proehl joined UNC for their 2014 season, playing for the Tar Heels all four years he was eligible.
He caught 106 yards in his freshman season, followed by 225 yards and a touchdown for his sophomore year. He earned seven starts during his junior year, catching 597b yards and three touchdown passes from eventual first round pick and Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
During his senior year, he was a candidate for the Wuerffel Trophy, which honors college football’s most impactful leaders in community service. Over six games that season, he caught 21 pasases for 337 yards and a touchdown.
According to the UNC media guide, his dream job would be to play in the NFL and if he could choose a team, he would want to play for the Panthers.
From second-to-last pick, to reunited with dad
Proehl was the second-to-last pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, selected by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round.
He was cut in Sept. 2018 and bounced around between the practice squads for the Titans and Rams before being drafted to play for the XFL’s Seattle Dragons. In 2021, he bounced around on practice squads again for the 49ers, Chargers, Bills and Giants before joining his current team, the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL, earlier this year where he rejoined his father, who serves as the Battlehawks’ wide receiving coach.
His stats for the Battlehawks last year include 19 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown.