Bailey overlooked despite impressive performances
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 07:09
Stedman Bailey is putting together quite the illustrious career in a West Virginia uniform.
But, no one seems to realize.
The junior wide receiver ranks in the top 15 in school history in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, after just 27 career games.
The fact Bailey has to line up alongside preseason All-Americans in seniors Geno Smith and Tavon Austin makes exposure difficult for the Miramar, Fla., native.
In the Mountaineers’ season-opening tilt against Marshall Sept. 1, Bailey, yet again, casually led the team in receptions – nine of them for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
However, Bailey again seems to be overlooked by the fans and media despite the fact that he is attracting a lot of attention from opposing defenses.
"I would say I had a quiet 100-yard game,"
Bailey said after Marshall’s
defeat. "There were a couple times where the safety and the corner were
trying to bracket me. That’s something that I expect. I was still able to make some plays here and there."
Bailey is just five
receiving touchdowns away from the school record in a career. And he now has a touchdown reception in 12 of his last 15 games.
So, why was this another "quiet" game?
"I really don’t know," Bailey said. "I always expect myself to get at least 100 yards every game. I just feel like it was a quiet one, except for the touchdown, of course."
Bailey set the school record last season for consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards with five and set the school
record for receiving yards in a single season with 1,279.
Despite all the accolades, does Bailey ever feel overshadowed from seniors Smith and Austin?
"Not necessarily. We all came in together," Bailey said. "I just had a certain issue for a while and got redshirted my freshman year. I like to look at myself as a senior, too. I try to help lead the team and be vocal. I don’t necessarily feel lost in the shuffle."
As he alluded, Bailey redshirted his freshman season while Smith and Austin did not.
The extra year of exposure for Smith and Austin may be one of the
reasons no one seems to realize the statistics the talented junior wide receiver is posting.
"I understand those guys’ names are probably talked about more than me. But I’m not worried about that," Bailey said. "I just want to go out and play my game and prove people wrong. If they’re doubting me, I just want to continue to do well and create success for myself."
Assuming he avoids injury and maintains his recent level of play, Bailey should be in position to break many school career records this season, let alone what can happen during Bailey’s senior campaign.
He realizes critics will always linger, but Bailey isn’t worried about that.
It obviously hasn’t
bothered the underappreciated receiver at this point.
"I’m not necessarily worried about what the critics say," Bailey said. "I just go out there, play my game and let everything fall into place."