The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

April 6, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Kiper: Little doubt Tavon is taken high

MORGANTOWN — It is almost amazing how Tavon Austin has risen up the draft ladder, now seemingly for certain a first-round pick despite his diminutive size.

One of his biggest boosters, by the way, is the person who changed the entire “show biz” presentation of the draft, Mel Kiper Jr., who recently spoke glowingly about Austin during a national press conference.

“Well, he’s a phenomenal player,” Kiper said when asked his evaluation of him. “I saw him in high school here at Dunbar in Baltimore, and he was outstanding. He was a man among boys. He’s just tremendously electrifying, great quickness. He doesn’t break tackles; he’s only 5-8½, 5-9, and yet try to get a handle on him to tackle him, so the first thing you have to do is corral him.

“He’s great kid, very businesslike in his approach, serious about his business. You know, you think about the slot receivers, guys like (Wes) Welker and (Danny) Amendola and Davone Bess, they all went undrafted. This kid is going to be drafted in the top 16. I think the furthest I could see him getting down to, well, the furthest I could see him is 23 to Minnesota; 16 to St. Louis is where I have him going.”

Kiper believes what makes Austin so valuable is his fit with the direction the NFL is taking.

“I think Tavon is going to have a heck of a career. I think he’s just an electrifying, dynamic player. You could say he’s overdrafted because this draft doesn’t have elite guys in the top 10, but in this NFL, in the era we’re in in the NFL, his skill set transitions and translates tremendously well.

“Now, 20 years ago it might have been a different ballgame, and the three guys that are dominating obviously are putting up big numbers at the slot receiver position went undrafted, but that certainly doesn’t affect Tavon Austin. He’s a guaranteed first-round draft choice and probably no later than pick 16.”

So how does Kiper come down on the Geno Smith controversy?

“You have a first-round quarterback in Geno Smith. I’ve said all along I think he’s 20 to 32, and everybody is kind of saying the same thing. I said it three months ago, I thought he was a 20 to 32 guy. I kept asking teams, is he going to go in the first, is he going to go — ‘Yeah, he’s going to go in the Top 10.’ Well, he’s not going to go in the Top 10, but everybody thinks he’s 20 to 32, so it’s been an interesting dynamic trying to evaluate where he’ll project,” he admitted.

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads