Bailey Still has Something to Prove - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Bailey Still has Something to Prove


No player in the Big East made as many big plays as Stedman Bailey last season.

As a sophomore, Bailey had highlight reel catches or home run touchdowns (or both) in almost every game. He made numerous appearances on Sportscenter's Top 10 throughout the season and became a star in West Virginia's high-powered passing attack.

Bailey ended up leading the Mountaineers with 1,279 receiving yards for the season, despite having another of the nation's most exciting playmakers, Tavon Austin, lining up with him.

In fact, Bailey led the conference in not only yards, but yards per catch among players with at least 20 receptions. His yards total would have been good for third in the Big 12, which may have more explosive offenses than any other conference.

Oh, and his 12 receiving touchdowns? That was four more than any other receiver in the Big East managed. Austin was second with eight.

Yet, when the postseason awards came out, and the Big East All-Conference team was announced, Bailey was not included as a First Team receiver. He wasn't completely snubbed, as he ended up on the Second Team, and his teammate, Austin, was one of the two receivers picked on the First Team.

Still, for a player that led the Big East in so many categories and had such a big role in the team's conference championship season, it seemed like a bit of a snub to not have Bailey as a First Team receiver.

This team isn't a member of the Big East anymore, though. Now, it moves on to the Big XII to face offenses that will be putting up numbers that are similar, and at times better, than this West Virginia team.

Going up against teams that are, to put it gently, not exactly known for their defensive prowess, will give players like Bailey, Austin, and Geno Smith a chance to put up even bigger numbers in a conference that has more national prestige.

With all of those factors, all three of these players seem like prime candidates to start appearing on preseason All-American teams.

But, on Monday night, something apparently didn't sit well with Bailey. The Maxwell Award watch list was released, and while teammates Austin and Smith made the list, Bailey's name was nowhere to be seen.

Bailey responded through twitter, simply saying, "I still got a lot to prove I see... #Motivation."

Notice that he says he "still" has a lot to prove- as in, he's had something to prove since he got to college. When he committed to WVU, he was considered a three-star prospect by most recruiting services. Two fellow three-star receivers in that class? Brodrick Jenkins and Darwin Cook, each of which is now a defensive back for the Mountaineers.

That rating doesn't mean nothing was expected out of Bailey, as it is still respectable, but it also doesn't mean that he was necessarily expected to become the star he has today. He red-shirted in his first season and first stepped onto the field for game action in 2010.

That year, in nine starts, he earned 317 receiving yards. That came in an offense that threw the ball much less, though. Smith had 372 passing attempts in 2010 compared to 526 last season.

When Holgorsen and his offense got to Morgantown, Bailey had his breakout season, proving that he truly is a star receiver.

Apparently, he hasn't proven enough, though. To be fair, there are 124 teams in FBS college football, and not every star from every team is going to make the list. Some great players are going to be left off, and Bailey happened to be one of them this season.

Still, it seems like Bailey had the numbers last year to be considered one of the nation's best receivers coming into this season.

If that doesn't happen to be the case, he'll just have to go out and prove himself. Again.

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