Steve Slaton, West Virginia University’s decorated sophomore running back, is elated to have earned consensus All-America acclaim.

But the 5-10, 195-pound superstar from Levittown, Pa., gives a lot of credit to teammates.

“It’s a big compliment to me and my offense,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “The whole offensive line worked hard, and that’s the reason I’m here now.

“Being grateful means working hard, and that’s what I’ve tried to do.”

Slaton and Dan Mozes, senior center, are the first WVU players to become consensus All-America selections in the same season. They also are the 10th and 11th to do that in the school’s 114-year football history.

“That means a lot,” Slaton admitted. “We were 1-2. Working together helped me (attract recognition).”

The 13th-ranked Mountaineers (10-2) will clash with Georgia Tech (9-4) in the Toyota Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day at Jacksonville.

WVU offensive coordinator Calvin Magee said Wednesday, “I’m extremely happy for Steve and Dan. I was watching TV last night and heard about The Associated Press selections.

“So I was really excited for them. They’ve worked so hard. And they’re team players. For them to be recognized, that’s a big, big compliment.”

Slaton said he’s looking forward to quarterback Patrick White returning to the lineup after having missed the regular-season finale against Rutgers because of injury.

While postseason play may be like starting a new season, WVU’s all-time single-season rushing leader said it’s really a different type of preparation.

“You’re healthier (in preseason),” he pointed out. “The little break now is what you need for your body to get healthy (after 12 games).

“So the body can do what it normally does when it’s healthy. That’s the biggest thing going into a bowl game.”

Slaton, who has rushed for 1,733 yards and 16 touchdowns, believes the Mountaineers have the utmost confidence that they can compete in any bowl game.

Someone noted that there will be four All-America players in the Gator Bowl — two on each team.

“It means that you have to live up (to All-America status) and play your best,” Slaton said. “And I think that’s what we’re going to do as a team.

“Hopefully, we’ll play one of the best games that we can play.”

Slaton readily agrees that an offensive line rarely receives the full credit it deserves.

“Well, without Dan Mozes, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do,” he said. “And that goes for the whole offensive line.”

Magee said, “Those two earning consensus All-America in the same year for the first time is certainly very good. They work extra hard and now are starting to get some national recognition.

“The ultimate description of Dan and Steve is giving credit to teammates. They’re probably excited about it.

“But knowing those two, I think each is probably saying, ‘Hey, I’m just part of the group.’ I wish Patrick also could have made it, but to get two honored like that is special.”

Trending Video

Recommended for you