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West Virginia’s Geno Smith Bearing Lightning Rod, Carrying Weight of Redemption

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Geno Smith has become a lightning rod through no fault of his own, except for showing the skills and work ethic to be projected by many as the top quarterback prospect in this draft. Many valid arguments have been made for and against whether he should be a top-5 selection in the 2013 NFL draft, as well as whether this will happen.

This draft is by many accounts being considered quarterback-weak, yet the Smith debate seems to be gaining more buzz and inspiring more spirited debate than any other this April. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora just declared “Geno Smith will be a top-five draft pick. There isn’t any doubt about it.” While Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki referred to him as “a cross between Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks.” Some pretty declarative statements out there.

West Virginia fans and coaches will certainly vouch for him against any whispers questioning his work ethic and probably take great stock in where Smith falls on draft day. After Pat White appeared so prolific in his time in Morgantown — before he soon found no place in the league — Mountaineer faithful certainly wish for redemption in Smith.

Granted, White had no chance at going first round while Smith seems the only lock for it at quarterback this year, so this WVU draft class faces colossal expectations in comparison.

Joining Smith as compelling options in the 2013 draft class are his receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Both are considered quick-twitch athletes that can do great things after the catch, posing a compelling option in the slot.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google