The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

April 26, 2013

WVU’s Austin taken 8th; Smith ignored

Rams trade up to get Mountaineer playmaker

BECKLEY — A lifetime dream two decades in the making took only a little more than an hour to become reality for Tavon Austin Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall, while the man who put the ball in his hands the last three years, Geno Smith, lived through a nightmare as the nation watched.

Austin, a former West Virginia University wide receiver, became the 10th first-round pick in Mountaineer history when the St. Louis Rams traded up to the No. 8 overall pick to select the 5-foot-8 playmaker in the first round of the NFL Draft.

“I just want to thank them,” Austin told NFL Network, just moments after posing for pictures with his new No. 1 jersey. “I’m going to work hard, and there will be no problems. I’m going to give 100 percent.”

The Paul Hornung Award winner as college football’s most versatile player, Austin said he’s ready to fill multiple roles for his new team.

“I’ve been doing it for eight years, and I’m ready to do it again,” he said. “I want to help the team win.”

Austin, who was the first wide receiver selected, caught 112 passes for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

“I had a feeling (the Rams) liked me,” said Austin in an interview with the Rams website. “When I went up there for a visit, I really connected well with all the coaches. It was all smiles while I was there.”

Austin was the highest WVU selection since Pacman Jones went No. 6 to the Tennessee Titans in 2005. Hinton native Dick Leftridge, selected third by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1966, was the highest selection in Mountaineer history.

While Austin celebrated, Smith — at one time projected as a possible No. 1 overall pick — waited.

The No. 1 quarterback on the majority of the experts’ lists, Smith watched Florida State’s E.J. Manuel go as a surprise pick to the Buffalo Bills at No. 16 — the first quarterback off the board — and then waited through 16 more agonizing selections without ever hearing his name.

After more than four hours of picks, Smith — who was on the front page of ESPN.com throughout the day Thursday and the focus of the ESPN and NFL Network television cameras from the start of their draft coverage — had to head back to a New York City hotel and wait to see if his name will be called in today’s second round.

Round 2 will begin at 6:30 p.m. and be shown live on ESPN.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

1
Text Only
College Sports
  • 041714 millard Kickoff time set for WVU-Alabama

    West Virginia football fans can now start counting down to the exact minute, instead of just the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Questions raised about Turnbull’s firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 wright Former Red Devil star realizing dream of playing D-I basketball

    When former Oak Hill High School standout Kalif Wright was a kid, he would play EA Sports’ NCAA March Madness video games and dream of one day getting a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mountaineers beat Buckeyes 4-1 in lefty Vance’s first career start

    In his first career start for the WVU baseball team, sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out 14 en route to a 4-1 victory over Ohio State on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 15, 2014

  • Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage last Saturday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Wesleyan edges CU twice in softball

    The Concord University softball narrowly dropped a pair of games to No. 17 West Virginia Wesleyan, 2-1 and 4-3, Sunday afternoon at Culpepper Field.

    April 14, 2014

  • Concord baseball shuts out Cardinals

    The Concord University baseball team posted two shutout victories on Sunday, extending its winning streak to seven games by beating conference foe Wheeling Jesuit.

    April 14, 2014

  • dana Much still to be answered this fall

    In Saturday’s paper, I compiled a list of five things to watch at West Virginia University’s annual Gold-Blue Spring Game. Now, after watching the football scrimmage that concluded this year’s spring drills and taking some time to process what I saw, it’s time to go back and revisit those five points and how they turned out on Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni speculation now seems to have legs

    Kareem Canty got what he wanted, and Marshall fans should find out this week if they will get what they want.

    April 13, 2014

  • millard Specials teams shine at Gold-Blue Game

    The scoreboard said the Gold (offense) beat the Blue (defense) 37-27 in Saturday’s Gold-Blue Spring Game at Milan Puskar Stadium using a modified scoring system that rewarded the defense for stops and turnovers and the offense for scores.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video