Smith is one of the top senior quarterbacks in his class. He doesn’t lack any particular trait you look for in a quarterback prospect, except for the fact that his offense is almost overly pass oriented and he doesn’t have a ton of experience from under center. He has the ability to make plays with his legs and can hit all the throws. In Dana Holgorson’s offense, he really thrived as a junior throwing for 4,385 yards, 31 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He had a pass efficiency rating of 152.6 this past season, so he is very careful with the ball. He has had a couple of elite receivers to throw to over the last two seasons, and that should help him be even more productive as a senior. He has really good footwork, and a quick, low release which can at times get knocked down at the line of scrimmage because he appears to release the ball right around his ear or slightly below. Sometimes he doesn’t go through all of his progressions and will settle for his first read, which is normally okay but he will need to work through some things as he progresses as a player. Smith has the ability to fit the body into tight windows, and when he hits his groove he can get really hot. Leads an explosive aerial attack, which will translate well to the NFL. Really productive player who I think has a chance to be a Pro Bowl caliber player at the NFL level.
Really intriguing wide receiver prospect. Does a good job of using his hands and playing physical. He has the ability to make plays after the catch with his elusiveness and athletic ability. Sure-handed receiver who has built a great chemistry with quarterback Geno Smith, and a guy who runs really good routes overall. Started all of last season for the first time in his career, and finished the year with 72 receptions for 1,279 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging over 17 yards per reception. He is easily the team’s best deep threat and he led WVU in receiving despite catching 29 fewer passes than returning senior Tavon Austin. He has great quickness with the ball in his hand, and is always keeping his eyes upfield. He has great potential after the catch and could be one of the best combination receivers in his class. He looks like he could be similar to a Reggie Wayne type of receiver.
1 Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, Senior 5’9″ 176 pounds
Quick, shifty, jack-of-all-trades wide receiver prospect who can do so many things to help your football team. Really, he reminds me a lot of a DeSean Jackson type of receiver. He is so fast and so elusive in the open field, but he isn’t very big so he likely won’t be a first round pick. At the next level, that really won’t matter. He is going to make an impact at the next level if he can stay healthy. When you watch him play, he reaches second and third gear at an incredible rate. When this guy hits the open field, he is nearly impossible to track down. He looks like a pinball moving around on the football field. As a junior, he had a team-leading 101 receptions for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns, but he also added over 100 yards rushing with a touchdown on the ground, and 938 kick return yards with two more touchdowns there. He averaged an astounding 26 yards per kick return. For as compact as he is, he is actually really strong and has great balance near the sidelines. Strangely, he has had some problems fielding punts, but if he ever figures that out, he could be extremely dangerous there as well. Basically, this is a player you want to get the ball in open space as much as possible. He has so many skills in the open field, and he has great breakaway speed.
Madsen has been a three year starter for the Mountaineers and one of their most durable players. He is an All-Big East performer who excels in pass blocking in WVU’s air-it-out offense. Madsen is rated as Phil Steele’s 14th best draft eligible center in the country, and justifiably so. He has good size for a center prospect and with another solid season, should solidify a spot in the draft. He is not a flashy prospect by any means, but he is a guy who could potentially start on the interior for a team that likes to pass the ball a lot, at either guard or center. Big East All-Freshman team in 2009, and a first team All-Conference performer each of the last two seasons. He has started 38 games in his career going into his senior season, very experienced collegiate player which will make the mental transition of the game to the pros a lot easier.
Garvin is a very interesting prospect with very good overall tools to play multiple positions at the next level, but he needs to stay out of trouble with the law if he wants to hear his name called on draft day. Despite his intriguing physical tools, Garvin was arrested back in May for stealing from a convenience store, so he has red flags attached. On the field, Garvin is a productive player who moved from safety to linebacker in 2011. He led the team in 2010 with 76 tackles, and was fourth on the team last year with 72. He also finished last season with 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and two interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown. Garvin hits like a ton of bricks and is definitely the type of guy who looks like he will transition well to playing outside linebacker at the next level, where he can rush the quarterback, drop back in coverage, or cover tight ends. He could also drop back as a defensive back in nickel situations. Due to West Virginia’s unique defense, he has been allowed to play a variety of different roles. Doesn’t appear to have elite top end speed,and is quicker than fast. Good length and has a nose for the ball. He could be a decent mid-late round addition for some team.
Francis is a really interesting talent, and a former junior college All-American who finished his ju-co career with 95 tackles, 13 sacks, and 19 tackles for loss. He was essentially just a special teams player last year, but he has a ton of upside and could emerge as one of the team’s leading tacklers in 2012. He’s also a singer, and you can find some of his stuff on YouTube. That really has nothing to do with football, but it’s interesting to get to know a little more about the player himself. His nickname is “Road Closed” so obviously he has built up quite a reputation.
Cook, along with another one of his draft-eligible teammates decided to steal from a convenience store, so he needs to stay out of trouble for a while to up his draft stock, but he has some intriguing tools. He finished last season with 85 tackles which was second on the team, as well as two interceptions and a fumble recovered for a touchdown. The fumble recovery happened in the Orange Bowl, where Cook snatched the ball from Andre Ellington in a close game that would have given Clemson potentially a 24-21 lead, and it instead turned into a 28-17 deficit that wound up being a 70-something embarrassment. Cook’s touchdown was the turnaround in that game. He is obviously a very productive tackler who needs more experience to increase his draft stock, and he has to quit stealing from convenience stores.
McCartney is a long, big play threat at the receiver position who has really interesting tools. He was expected to make a big impact as a freshman coming out in 2010 as one of the top receiver prospects in the state of Florida. Chose the Mountaineers over his hometown Miami Hurricanes, and he has a good football bloodline, as Chad Johnson (Dolphins) is his cousin. I really like his overall length as a receiver and his athletic ability to go up and win jump ball situations. As a sophomore he had 49 receptions for 585 yards and three touchdowns, but he really fizzled off as the season came to a close. He has the potential to be one of the best big play receivers in his class if he continues to develop, but he has to hope that there are enough balls to go around in this star-studded offense.