The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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August 15, 2012

Gaining Ground

Mountaineers senior Austin seeks more ways to pick up yards

MORGANTOWN — Tavon Austin gained ground four different ways last season for West Virginia University to lead the nation in all-purpose yards.

In averaging 198.0 per game, the 5-foot-9, 176-pound senior from Baltimore caught 101 passes for 1,186 yards, returned 36 kickoffs for 938 yards, returned 19 punts for 260 yards and rushed 16 times for 182 yards last season.

Austin also scored 13 touchdowns.

Asked whether he has discovered new ways to run with the ball, Austin replied:

“Definitely. I keep finding ways. I am stronger and faster. I don’t have any favorite way to run with it. I just want the ball.”

He would like to be even more productive this season, showing fans in the Big 12 that’s where WVU belongs for the first time.  

“I just want to get the ball any way I can get it,” he said. “I’m excited about playing in the Big 12.”

WVU quarterback Geno Smith is among the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy this year. So is Austin. Both have All-America status.

But each insists he wants the other to win college football’s greatest award.

Austin, whose primary position on the team is inside receiver, confirms that there’s more depth in the receiving corps than there was last year.

But Austin said he doesn’t mind blocking for others who are catching passes or rushing with the ball.

“I actually enjoy blocking,” he noted. “It is part of my job.

“I miss a block at times. But I try to make up for that. Whatever it takes. I want to play in the NFL some day.”

Austin keeps that in mind by working hard on all phases of his game. But he does get frustrated in games when he doesn’t see the ball come his way.

“I want to go out and play with a great mind for head coach (Dana) Holgorsen,” he stated.

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