On September 17th, 2022, West Virginia University will enshrine eight new members into the schools Sports Hall of Fame. The 32nd class will include three Mountaineer football players, who played a major role in the program joining the Big 12. Three members are: Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey, and Tavon Austin. All three of these players helped put West Virginia back on the map in the early 2010’s.
Geno Smith set many records while at West Virginia, including one in his teams inaugural game in the Big 12. Smith, the QB from Miramar, FL completed 45 passes, for 656 yards and eight touchdowns against Baylor in 2012. That game was good enough for the most passing yards in a single game that season. Geno would go on to break a total of 33 WVU records throughout his career. Smith would go onto to set season records at WVU in passing yards (4,385) and touchdowns (42). The QB would set career records at the school in total offense (12,004), passing yards (11,662), and pass attempts (1,465).
The FL QB would be the finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Maxwell Award, and the Davey O’Brien Award. Smith would also add Discover Orange Bowl MVP to his trophy room in 2011 after destroying the Clemson Tigers in the Bowl Game. Geno would go onto to be selected as the 39th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, by the New York Jets. Smith is still playing, and has an opportunity to start this season with the Seahawks.
Stedman Bailey was a three year starter for the Mountaineers, and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award in 2012. Bailey was arguably one of the most sure handed receiver, in West Virginia football history. In 2012 the WR hauled in 25 touchdown receptions, which tied him for second all-time with Marshall’s Randy Moss. Bailey had five consecutive games and 14 total games with over 100 yards receiving. Both were good for school records. When it was all said and done, Stedman Bailey set the school record for touchdown receptions with 41.
After the 2012 season, Steadman Bailey decided that he would forgo his senior season at WVU, and enter the NFL Draft. Bailey would be selected with the 92nd pick by the St. Louis Rams. His shining moment would come in 2014 where he ran a punt return back for a TD against the Seahawks. Bailey retired in 2015, finishing his career with 59 catches for 843 yards and four touchdowns.
Tavon Austin was well-known throughout college football for his one man highlight reels. All you have to do is go to Youtube and you will find plenty of him making jaw dropping plays. Austin’s speed and playmaking ability was a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Just ask Oklahoma in the game in Morgantown in 2012. Austin, who mainly lined up at WR in his career, but lined up in the backfield in the game against the Sooners. Tavon would rush for 344 yards in that game, setting a new single game record for WVU. Austin would go on to finish his career as the all-time leader in all-purpose yards at WVU (7,286). The Baltimore native also owns the single game record for all-purpose yards, with 572.
Perhaps the most intriguing records that Austin has, is his national records. Austin is the only player in college football history, to score a touchdown four different ways in one season. The WR scored a receiving touchdown, rushing touchdown, and a kick and punt return touchdown. Tavon was also the only player to ever finish his career over 3,000 yards receiving and 1,000 yards rushing. Austin just had a niche for making defenders miss, while breaking long runs. Tavon Austin would go on to be selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The St. Louis Rams would select him eight, before taking Bailey later in the same draft. The WVU receiver is still playing today, with the Buffalo Bills.
Remaining Honorees for the 2022 WVU Hall Class
Kevin Jones, Men’s Basketball
Donna Abbott, Women’s Basketball
Marie-Louise Asselin, Cross Country
Marsha Beasley, Rifle
Marilee Hohmann, Rifle
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