By Mickey Furfari
Times West Virginian
Stedman Bailey’s recent public announcement that he will be skipping his senior season as a football superstar at West Virginia University should have surprised nobody.
The 5-10, 195-pound redshirt junior wide receiver from Miami, Fla., really had very little to add to his amazing list of athletic achievements.
He already had earned All-America honors, shattered numerous school and Big 12 Conference records, and seems solidly prepared to succeed at the next level.
Bailey is expected to be a high pick in the 2013 National Football League draft. Hopefully, he will eventually find time to earn his college degree. That’s about the only thing he really lacks as he turns pro.
For his three-year career as a starter, Bailey appeared in 39 games, caught 209 passes for 3,323 yards, and scored 41 touchdowns. No WVU receiver ever tallied more than that number.
Senior Tavon Austin remains WVU’s all-time career leader in both pass receptions (286) and yardage (3,404) as a full four-year contributor.
Bailey, who is No. 1 in most receiving TDs in a season (25), also finished with a school record in 100-yard receiving games with 14 — one more than Austin had.
A finalist for the prestigious Biletnikoff Award, Bailey ranked No. 2 nationally in scoring per game and No. 3 in receiving yards per game.
Going into WVU’s 38-14 upset defeat by Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, he also ranked fourth in receptions per game (8.8), and No. 30 nationally in all-purpose yardage (135.8) per game.
He had a knack for getting big yards after making a catch. Bailey covered 29 and 32 yards, scoring the only WVU touchdowns in the bowl contest.
He was named to the first team All-America by CBS Sports and was a second-team All-America selection by Walter Camp Football Foundation and FoxSports.com.
Bailey made the All-Big 12 Conference first team at wide receiver. He also was honored on all-conference teams by the coaches, The Associated Press, ESPN.com, and CBSSports.com.
His 25 touchdowns this year on receptions tied Bailey for No. 2 all-time in FBS history. The record is 27 by Tony Edwards of Louisiana Tech, set in 1998.
Bailey now shares second place at 25 with Randy Moss of Marshall (1997).
He ranks near the top in several different situations statistically. But Bailey will be remembered most as quarterback Geno Smith’s No. 1 receiver.
They were teammates their entire time at Miramar High School in Miami as well as his three active years at West Virginia University.
How could anyone not remember him?