Mountaineers Take Top Spots in Phil Steele's Midseason Honors - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers Take Top Spots in Phil Steele's Midseason Honors


Phil Steele's Midseason All-Big East Team came out Friday with the publication's picks for the top players in the league. The first team rosters are full of Mountaineers.

Geno Smith is the top choice for quarterback in the conference, which is no surprise given the numbers he's putting up at the midway point of his junior season. In Smith's first year running head coach Dana Holgorsen's offense, he already shows 2,159 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The next best yardage is just 1,294 by both USF's B.J. Daniels and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib. No other quarterback has more than Nassib's 11 touchdowns.

If West Virginia's quarterback is on the list, it makes sense to include a couple of his targets, too. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin lead the Big East in receiving yards and are joined by Mohamed Sanu of Rutgers on the first team. WVU's third-leading receiver, Ivan McCartney, is on the third team offense.

The Mountaineers' offensive line has shown significant improvement in the team's first six games and several of its players are recognized for their part in that improvement. Center Joe Madsen, guard Jeff Braun and tackle Don Barclay make up three-fifths of the first team o-line.

On defense, it looks like Bruce Irvin's strong performance against UConn caught Steele's eye. The senior defensive end joins cornerback Keith Tandy and safety Terence Garvin on the first team.

Three of the four picks for special teams are Mountaineers, too. Tyler Bitancurt is the top kicker and Tavon Austin is listed at both kick and punt returner. In total, Austin is listed three times on the first team roster.

Other WVU players to make up the second and third teams are cornerback Pat Miller, defensive lineman Julian Miller and linebacker Najee Goode.

Despite West Virginia's dominance of the top honors in the Big East, Irvin is the only player selected on the midseason All-American team, listed on the fourth team defense. Pitt's Ray Graham is the only other Big East player on the roster, picked to the second team.

Players from four teams WVU has faced in its first six games – Marshall, Maryland, LSU and Bowling Green – are on the All-American team.  

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