Tavon Austin: Player Highlights for Former West Virginia WR
West Virginia's wide receiver Tavon Austin is perhaps the most exciting player coming out of this year's draft.
With his blazing speed and playmaking skills, Austin is one of the few players on the board that won't exactly upset fans in any draft slot if he's selected by their respective team.
While he does seem more like a luxury pick that will likely go somewhere between 15 and the end of the draft, if he sneaked into the top 15, no one would be too surprised. Austin is like a Swiss Army knife, providing teams with a playmaker on special teams, a top-flight receiver and someone who can even make some plays out of the backfield.
We will look at Austin doing all of that, as we highlight the best highlights of the rookie most likely to swing your fantasy league's title in 2013.
100-Yard Kickoff Return vs. Marshall (2011)
The title of this video may say that this kickoff return went for 100 yards, but look closely, as Austin is at least three or four yards deep in his own end zone when he receives the kickoff.
From there you'll notice that the blocking from West Virginia's return team isn't exactly great. It's good enough for most players to get a good 20 to 30 yards on the return, but Austin puts on the afterburners once he gets to the Mountaineer 30-yard line, and it immediately becomes a big play.
Five yards after that, a small move to his right makes Austin elusive. Now the only chance Marshall has at preventing the touchdown is the penalty on the Mountaineers that never comes because one wasn't committed.
You can teach all the technique in the world, but you can't teach speed, and Austin shows why on this play.
37-Yard Touchdown Reception vs. Clemson (2012 Orange Bowl)
West Virginia demolished Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl, which likely set back ACC football by at least five years while helping West Virginia make their case for belonging in the Big 12 (a case that would be undone by the last half of their 2012 Big 12 schedule of course).
The reason for such a large beatdown has a lot to do with Austin's four touchdowns against the Tigers' Swiss cheese defense (apologies to Swiss cheese, which doesn't nearly have as many holes as Clemson's defense had that evening), including the play featured above: a simple pitch-and-catch from Geno Smith to Tavon Austin that went 37 yards for a Mountaineer touchdown.
On this play you will see that Austin's quickness did the majority of the work. In the blink of an eye he was able to run a good 12 yards past the line of scrimmage up the middle, where Smith found him almost instantaneously. This was followed by Austin making Clemson's safety miss him with one move, followed by a path to the end zone that's so big and clear you could drive monster truck down that path without hitting anything.
Does Clemson's blown coverage have a lot to do with this run? Yes, but you can only play with what you have, and if you only have one safety responsible for Tavon Austin, you pretty much deserve your eventual doom.
37-Yard Reception vs. Kansas (2012)
This didn't result in a score for the Mountaineers against the Jayhawks last season, but this play is great nonetheless.
Austin answers questions about whether or not his size will be able to translate to the NFL with that leaping catch. The pass wasn't exactly well thrown by Geno Smith (had Smith added a few more inches to that pass to allow Austin to catch it in stride, that's an easy six), and Austin was covered fairly well on the play.
Despite that, Austin leaps up and makes the catch over the defender, but it's fairly easy to see him making that play over at least 90 percent of NFL cornerbacks.
Just wait until he does the same thing to your cornerback.
43-Yard Touchdown Run vs. TCU (2012)
When you have Austin's speed, you can afford to do some improvising once you have the ball.
On this play you'll notice Austin running into a trap. There's a lot more white around him than green or yellow, so what is he to do?
Simply turn on a dime, bounce outside and get the touchdown, in the same way you would while playing Madden on rookie level when you run into the defense on purpose simply to make plays like this.
You'll notice here that West Virginia's blocking isn't exactly satisfactory; quite a few players miss their blocks, thus putting Austin in the precarious situation he was in.
That turns out not making one iota of difference though, as he did get West Virginia their six points.
74-Yard Touchdown Run vs. Oklahoma (2012)
Twice now I've been hard on West Virginia's blocking, arguing that Austin scored in spite of the blocking and not because of it.
Here is a different story, as we see Austin take advantage of two great blocks for one of the most exciting touchdown runs in college football last season.
It was a game the Mountaineers would lose by one, but Austin had one of his best games of his collegiate career, picking up 344 yards rushing, 572 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
This 74-yard run was perhaps the biggest highlight of the game, and while West Virginia's blockers did their job, Austin did his, recognizing the path being set and speeding down said path.