West Virginina's Stedman Bailey to Declare for NFL Draft

By Connor Muldowney
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the fast start to the season that the West Virginia Mountaineers and quarterback Geno Smith had, there seemed to be no question that they would have one of the nation’s best offenses by the end of the year and possibly playing for a national title.

While they did rank in the top-10 in several offensive categories including pass yards per game(340.9) and points per game(41.6),  their defense couldn’t stop even the weakest offenses.

The Mountaineers started a promising 5-0 with Geno Smith accumulating more touchdowns than incompletions, until they were blown out by Texas Tech, 49-14, and never truly recovered record-wise.

They lost their next five games and ended the season 7-5, disappointing to say the least. Although their record seemed poor and the finish to the season was not the best, earning a spot in the Pinstripe Bowl, they still had one of the most potent offenses in the land.

A big reason for that was Geno Smith who threw for 4,000 yards, 40 touchdowns and just six interceptions while improving his draft stock, many projecting him as the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft.

Another big reason for their offensive success were the receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Both finished the season with over 100 receptions and exceeded 1,000 yards, an impressive mark for two receivers on the same team.

Although Austin and Smith are seniors and will be NFL players next year, many Mountaineer fans were excited with the possibility of Bailey coming back for his senior year. That is not the case anymore as multiple reports are saying that Bailey will forgo his senior season and enter the draft after a 1,500 yard, 106 reception and 23-touchdown season.

Reports say that he will declare for the draft following the team’s Pinstripe Bowl game according to head coach Dana Holgorson.

He looks to be the 14th best receiver coming out of college this season which makes him a mid-round selection at best. His biggest downfalls according to NFL scouts are his size (5’10”, 188 lbs) and his strength going into the draft.

Although he has a lot to work on, his speed and quickness will surely land him a spot on any NFL team looking for a deep-ball guy and/or a kick returner.

West Virginia’s offense will look quite different in 2013.


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