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Austin's WVU Career Over, NFL Next

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MORGANTOWN -

Tavon Austin left his mark all over West Virginia University. Just look at the school record books for Austin's name and you will see that he is arguably one of the best to ever wear the old gold and blue.

It all begins with his versatility. Austin played Receiver, Running Back and was a return specialist in 2012. He became the first player in school history to score a touchdown four different ways in one season (catch, run, kick and punt return.)

Perhaps no single game showed his worth to West Virginia than the numbers he racked up against Oklahoma. Austin totaled 572 all-purpose yards against the Sooners in a 50-49 loss in Morgantown. That is the most all-purpose yards in the FBS this season and six yards off the all-time record in college football history.

"When (Dana) Holgorsen came in, I definitely was happy," Austin smiled. "The changed offense, I definitely got better in this offense and I am in the position I am in right now."

The offense certainly helped showcase Austin's skills. The weather in the Pinstripe Bowl did not. Austin admitted that he was a little more tentative trying to run and make cuts on the slick surface and in a losing effort at Yankee Stadium.

"It's definitely hard to end it like this," Austin said. "But, you know how the season went. We lost five straight. We thought this was the year that we would go to the national championship, if not, back to the Orange Bowl. It didn't work out like that. We were a couple of plays short."

As one chapter closes for Tavon Austin, another is about to begin. Austin moved his clothes and belongings out of West Virginia during the team's holiday break. He is not planning to return to WVU, at least not in the near future. He is going to begin training and working out in advance of February's NFL combine.

"I'm going to put in some hard work and work on getting better at all the negatives they put out there on me," Austin stated. "Hopefully in April, my name will get called."

It appears likely his name will be called and he might hear his name called in the first round of the NFL draft. Numerous mock drafts list Austin as a late-first round pick.

He will likely be one of the top stories coming out of the NFL combine. His speed and agility should get scouts and coaches at the next level excited. What he lacks in size as a receiver, he more than makes up with his speed and ability to break a big play at any time.

Perhaps Austin will once again share a locker room with Geno Smith and/or Stedman Bailey. Austin is quick to credit Bailey and Smith for his own success in college.

"As far as Sted, he taught me the ropes of playing wide receiver," Austin stated. "I played running back my whole life and never did it before. Playing with Geno made you a better player, made you smarter. He is not going to let you slip in practice or anything. I am definitely honored to have played with those two guys."

Where is the next Tavon Austin? It is unreasonable to expect any one player to fill his shoes at WVU in 2013. But Austin believes there will be some playmakers on the roster.

"You still got (Andrew) Buie as a feature back," Austin said.  "Next year, little squirt (Jordan Thompson) and Dante (Campbell), they got to step up and it should be fun to see."

Austin will be watching from a distance and cheering on his former teammates, presumably from some NFL city.

Oh yeah, that mark he left on WVU. Take a look at the long list of school records he holds:

CAREER RECORDS:

ALL-PURPOSE YARDS 7,280
RECEIVING YARDS 3,404
RECEPTIONS 286
KICKOFF RETURN YARDS 2,332
KICKOFFS RETURNED FOR TD 4

SEASON RECORDS:

RECEPTIONS 110
KICKOFF RETURN YARDS 938

SINGLE GAME RECORDS:

RECEPTIONS 14 vs. Baylor
ALL-PURPOSE YARDS 572 vs. Oklahoma
RUSHING YARDS 344 vs. Oklahoma

 

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