Bailey still uncertain about future at West Virginia
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012 00:12
For most receivers across the country, what Stedman Bailey did Saturday against Kansas would be one of the best games of their career.
But, it was just another day at the office for the redshirt junior wide receiver. In the Mountaineers’ 59-10 win, Bailey had 11 catches for 159 yards and two scores – his fifth game with more than 10 catches this season.
After the game, one of the first questions Bailey was asked had nothing to do about his performance. With his junior season coming to a close and the senior class he came to Morgantown with graduating, many have started to wonder if a senior year is in the cards for Bailey or if he will make the jump to the NFL a year early.
"I’m not sure about that yet," Bailey said. "All the fans want me to stay. They tweet me all day, every day, about it. I appreciate that.
"There’s nothing like Mountaineer Nation."
With his performance Saturday, Bailey ended the regular season with 23 touchdowns – the most ever for a receiver from the BCS conferences.
Bailey got started quickly Saturday, catching a Geno Smith pass deep across the middle of the field for a 45-yard gain. It was something the Mountaineers have been looking to do for weeks in order to get started fast.
"The last three games, I took a shot (at the beginning of the game) and wasn’t able to complete it. (Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson) sat me down. ‘Can we just complete one to start the game off?’ I told him ‘I got him,’" Smith said. "It was a great route by Stedman; the offensive line protected, and I was able to put it out there for him."
The 5-foot-10 Miramar, Fla., native is one of three finalists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, which is given each year to the nation’s best wide receiver. Although he’s going up for the award against USC’s
Marqise Lee and Baylor’s Terrance Williams, the numbers may be on Bailey’s side.
The only receiver who won the award and had more touchdowns than Bailey is former Marshall wide receiver Randy Moss, who finished the 1997 season with 25 touchdowns.
Following the game Saturday, Bailey and fellow WVU receiver Tavon Austin were stopped by Kansas head coach Charlie Weis, who had a few words he wanted to say to them.
"He just let me and Tavon know that we’re great players, and he hasn’t really seen many guys in his time coaching like me and Tavon," Bailey said. "He said to just never get content with how we are and always work hard.
"He could see us having a long future in the NFL."
But what’s left for Bailey to accomplish at the college level?
There’s one big thing that would keep a receiver who has plenty of WVU records from leaving a year early – especially with players like Smith and Austin graduating.
"I would just say to try to finish on top of the NCAA – break all the records I could possibly break," he said. "That’s probably what would keep me back."