Bailey Firm In Decision To Leave WVU Early - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Bailey Firm In Decision To Leave WVU Early

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MORGANTOWN -

It should not have come as a big surprise, but West Virginia University redshirt-junior wide receiver Stedman Bailey will not return for his senior season. He has decided to enter his name in the 2013 NFL draft.

"It was hard thinking about it," Bailey stated. "I do have another year here and I would like to do all I can to help those guys next year, but this is the best decision for me."

Bailey has put together two spectacular seasons. He was one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award presented to the nation's top receiver. Bailey has 106 receptions for 1,501 yards and 23 touchdowns this year.

Bailey holds the school record for receiving touchdowns with 39 and is at or near the top of many other categories as well.

"At this point, my stock probably couldn't get much higher," Bailey stated. "There will be a new quarterback next year, Tavon will not be there on the field and that could just have defenses keying on me and covering me and just worrying about covering me and that probably could have my numbers go down from what I did this year. That did play a role as well."

Quarterback Geno Smith and Inside Receiver Tavon Austin will be gone next season. That means Bailey would be catching passes from someone different. He also would see more double and triple-coverage without Austin on the field at the same time. Their departure also entered Bailey's mind when deciding to leave early.

"Those are my buddies," Bailey smiled. "We came in together. I developed a great relationship with Tavon and already knew Geno. The fact that those guys won't be here, which would be a whole lot different. I feel it is only right that I go out with them."

Underclassmen can file paperwork with the NFL to see where scouts project they will go in the draft. Bailey said his paperwork indicated he would be a third round pick.

"Just to be drafted period is a huge blessing," Bailey said. "Seeing that made me happy, but of course I would like to go higher."

How can Bailey go higher? It will be determined by his performance at the NFL combine. He will need to test well and interview well with potential employers.

"I know that will tie into things like the combine," Bailey said. "I will look forward to the offseason to perform as best I can at the combine, which would help me go higher."

Bailey will leave WVU after the Pinstripe Bowl and begin his offseason preparation for the NFL combine. First, he and the rest of his teammates look to close out the season with a win over Syracuse.

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