Senior all-purpose player Tavon Austin was named as the Big 12 Conference's Special Teams Player of the Year, along with be a first-team pick at wide receiver, to lead a small group of Mountaineers on the all-conference squad announced Wednesday.
Austin led the West Virginia receivers with 110 catches. He scored 12 touchdowns on pass receptions, three rushing and one on a punt return. Austin moved to running back for the final three games of the season, and he became the team's second leading rushing with 632 yards on just 61 carries. He averaged 11 yards per punt return.
Oklahoma State punter/placekicker Quinn Sharp shared the Special Teams Player of the Year honor with Austin.
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
West Virginia’s Tavon Austin is named the Big 12 Conference’s Special Teams Co-Player of the Year on Wednesday. The senior also was a first-team pick as a receiver.
Joining Austin on the first team is fellow receiver Stedman Bailey, who finished second on the team with 106 catches for a team-best 1,501 yards. Bailey also led the Mountaineers in scoring with 23 touchdowns.
The conference's Offensive Player of the Year is Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein. The Defensive Player of the Year went to K-State linebacker Arthur Brown. Meshak Williams of Kansas State was the Defensive Lineman of the Year, and K-State coach Bill Snyder won his second consecutive Coach of the Year honor.
Offensive Newcomer of the Year is Baylor's sophomore running back Lache Seastrunk. The Defensive Newcomer of the Year went to Oklahoma State defensive tackle Calvin Bennett. The Offensive Freshman of the Year is OSU quarterback J.W. Walsh, and the Defensive Freshman of the Year is Texas Christian defensive end Devonte Fields. The Offensive Lineman of the Year went to Baylor's Cyril Richardson.
Baylor quarterback Nick Florence was named the conference's Scholar-Athlete of the Year. West Virginia receiver Ryan Nehlen was also mentioned as a Big 12 Scholar-Athlete. The senior from Morgantown caught seven passes, one for a touchdown in the season.
WVU's record-setting quarterback Geno Smith was named to the Big 12's second all-conference team. Smith completed 350 of 490 passes for 4,004 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Also on the second team is WVU center Joe Madsen.
True freshman defensive back Karl Joseph was an honorable mention pick to the all-conference team. Joseph led the Mountaineers with 95 tackles, and he intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble.
WVU, 7-5, returns to action on Dec. 29, traveling to Yankee Stadium in New York to take on former Big East rival Syracuse, 7-5, in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Kickoff is slated for 3:15 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPN.
Prior to this season, the two teams had met annually since 1955. WVU left the Big East in July for the Big 12, and Syracuse will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference next fall. Syracuse holds a 32-27 edge in the rivalry, including winning the last two contests.