The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 10, 2012

Austin return good news for WVU

By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald

MORGANTOWN — I know a guy who couldn’t be happier that Tavon  Austin has decided to return for his senior year of West Virginia  University football.

The 5-foot-9, 176-pound junior from Baltimore, Md., is the most  versatile, fastest major contributor among the Orange Bowl champion  Mountaineers.

For starters, this magnificent young man of many moves in No. 1  in the nation in all-purpose yards with 2,574 yards. That averages out  to 198 yards per game.

I certainly think that status, of itself, is worthy of  All-America first-team selection.

The breakdown of four different play phases is just as  impressive.

Austin, who’s listed as an insider’s wide receiver, finished the  2011 season with 101 pass receptions for 1,106 yards and eight  touchdowns. His longest was 72 yard.

He average 11.7 yards per catch and 91.2 receiving yards per  game.

As a rusher, Austin was called on just 16  times and amassed 182 yards (11.4 per carry) and scored a touchdown on  an 80-yard gallop. Austin ranked third in rushing for the season.

He returned 18 punts for 268 yards (14.17 per punt) and returned  36 kickoffs for 928 yards (46.1 average) and two touchdowns (one for  100 yards).

In West Virginia’s 70-33 crushing of ACC Champion Clemson, 15th  ranked, Austin’s four receiving touchdowns set a record for the BCS  bowls. His 12 receptions in that blowout for 123 yards and the four  scores tied a school record with Jock Sanders set in 2007.

Austin ranks sixth nationally in punt returns, eighth in  receptions per game, 21st in kick returns and 24th in reception yards  per game.

As you can see, these are a lot of reason to be happy that Tavon  Austin is coming back in 2012.

Quarterback Geno Smith, the Orange Bowl MVP, also would still be  there to feed him the ball. He said he probably should give Austin that  MVP trophy he got for his 401 yard passing bowl record.

Austin has said he’s coming back because he thinks he’ll be  drafted higher for NFL play a year hence. He also likes WVU’s prospects  for another highly successful season in 2012.

Geno Smith obviously has similar sentiments for staying the  course.

Dana Holgorsen will have nearly all of his offensive starters  back in his second yard as WVU’s head coach. But the defensive unit  must be rebuilt, for the most part, as it was in 2011.