By Bob Hertzel
For the Times West Virginian
For the most part, West Virginia has been very fortunate when it comes to keeping players through their entire football eligibility rather than having them enter the NFL draft as juniors.
It appears they will keep that intact this year, as junior wide receiver Tavon Austin indicated that he plans to remain for his senior season, saying, “Yeah, I’ll hang around for another year” when asked about it.
The biggest defection recently was running back Steve Slaton, who left a year early after the coaching change, and was a third-round draft pick of the Houston Texans. Prior to that the ill-fated Chris Henry left early, as did defensive back Aaron Beasley.
But players such as Patrick White, Canute Curtis, Noel Devine and Jock Sanders stayed and played out their eligibility.
“You know, it is a reality across college football,” WVU first-year head coach Dana Holgorsen said when asked for his views on juniors submitting their tapes for evaluation. “There are a lot of guys who do it for the right reasons, and there are a lot who do it for the wrong reasons.
“I think you have to sit down and talk with the guys and make sure they are doing it for the right reasons and see what it says because it comes back at a fairly successful projection and you base what that projection with the kid’s interests and situation is and try and help him make a positive decision.”
Holgorsen admitted that a couple of his players this year have approached him for advice on this matter, indicating some might even be surprising.
“Everyone thinks they are going to the NFL,” he said. “Guys who don’t even start come to me. That is one thing that always kills me. When the season is over and NFL training starts, you get guys out there working harder than they ever have before. Some of those guys haven’t even started before. I always get a kick finding out who those guys are. You don’t want to ruin a kid’s dream, but there are a lot of people who know more about the situation than kids do.”
Part of the problem is that they are contacted by agents, who tell them they have nothing to lose to try to make it to the NFL. They point out all the success stories, players who were not college stars who had long NFL careers, preying on the dreams that all kids have of becoming a professional athlete.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.