Finding motivation not an issue as WVU’s Austin heads into senior season
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 13:08
West Virginia senior Tavon Austin has received about every preseason honor a wide receiver could earn this offseason.
He’s been named to the preseason all-Big 12 team as a wide receiver and punt returner.
He’s been put on the Biletnikoff, Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Award watch lists, and has been named to most national magazines’ preseason all-American team.
But even with those accolades, Austin isn’t complacent heading into the 2012 season.
"I really don’t like all the hype and all the media stuff," Austin said. "I’m the type of person who likes to go on the field and show what I can do."
Austin enters his senior year coming off an outstanding 2011 season where he showed his talent on the field, catching 101 passes for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns, in addition to returning two kicks for touchdowns. But if there was one item of concern, it was catching punts.
He wouldn’t fumble. He would let them bounce, and the WVU offense would be put in a tough spot, having to start a drive deep in its own territory.
This season Austin doesn’t want that to be the faulty part of his game.
"I’ve been catching punts this whole summer," he said. "Hopefully I field the punts this year, my blocks get set up, and hopefully I take some to the house this year."
As long as Austin fields the punts, everyone knows what he can do after he catches it.
He also looks at the move to the Big 12 like everyone else inside the West Virginia football program, as a chance to prove themselves on a bigger stage.
"We’re way in the country, we’re going to come here (to Texas) and play in the big lights, the big city," Austin said. "This is something you dream of your whole life. These are teams you watched when you were a little boy."
It’s easy to see that Austin is able to step up and play well on the national stage.
Take his performance in the Orange Bowl for example.
He set a bowl and BCS record with four touchdowns in the game.
Flashing back to the Orange Bowl, Austin made it clear he took ESPN’s praising of Clemson’s Sammy Watkins personally.
Although he often seems quiet and subdued, Austin doesn’t have a problem finding the key to his ignition. Austin knows how to hone in on what makes him go and use it to his advantage.
With that said, this season Austin may have found the ultimate motivator.
"My motivation is to get my mother and my grandmother out of where they’re living at right now. I have to get them out of Baltimore City," Austin said.
"I’ll do it by being the best person I can be."
Maybe it comes with being the smallest guy on the field at 5-foot-9, 174 pounds, but Austin always has something that drives him. In 2012, with so much riding on the line for Austin – his senior season, WVU’s first season in the Big 12, a chance to go to the NFL – there is no reason to think that Austin will do anything but rise to the occasion.