Austin Pettis, shown during the NFL Combine, was selected in the third round by the St. Louis Rams.

Former O.C. star celebrates NFL draft selection


ORANGE - Surrounded by his friends and family in a local restaurant Sunday, 22-year-old Austin Pettis had time to relax and reflect on the past 48 hours of his life that saw him become one of the newest members of the St. Louis Rams.

Pettis, a former wide receiver for Orange Lutheran High and more recently for Boise State, was picked by the Rams on Friday in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He was the 78th overall pick.

“It’s been a little crazy. It’s just a real nice burden taken off my back,” Pettis said.

Pettis, a two-time first-team All-WAC selection, described how he was expecting to be taken in either the third or fourth round. Once he heard his name Friday, the Rams flew him out on a red-eye flight to St. Louis to check out the facilities and meet the coaching staff.

With the possibility of a lockout looming over the 2011-2012 NFL season, Pettis is still not allowed to discuss details with his new employers as to what he will be doing on the football field. Instead he is maintaining his workout schedule and trying to stay in shape, which could be useful considering he now has to compete against the best players in the world.

“Everyone who comes from college into the draft is kind of the cream of the crop,” Pettis said. “When you get to the NFL everyone is the cream of the crop. … Whatever you’ve done to prepare for college you’ve got to do that much more for the NFL.”

Pettis built an impressive resume while at Boise State and left as the school’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 39.

Now that he is a Ram, Pettis has the possibility of playing significantly on a young team that is on the rise in a weak division. He could also start making new career highlight reels by connecting with 2010 NFL offensive rookie of the year Sam Bradford.

“At the combine, I had a really good meeting with the Rams so when they called me I was very excited," Pettis said. "I think we have a bright future ahead.”

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