The most prolific scorer in Maryland high school football history, Dunbar’s Tavon Austin, had a quiet, by his standards, but productive freshman season at West Virginia in 2009. In 2010, Austin appears ready to make a lot more noise.
On Saturday in the Mountaineers 31-0 season-opening win over Coastal Carolina, Austin assumed a feature role as a starting wide receiver in the Mountaineer offense and had an immediate impact.
Although he did not score a touchdown, as he did 123 times in high school, he caught five balls for 90 yards, for an outstanding 18 yards per catch. He also rushed two times for 11 yards.
Going from the status of being the No. 1 player in the state to being a part-time contributor in college was an adjustment for Austion, but it was a transition he believed served him well.
“I had a lot of great players ahead of me,” said Austin. “I had to learn from them – I couldn’t just come in and be the man, it wasn’t my team at the time. I had to just come in and play my role, and hopefully whenever my time comes I can step in and do the same thing.”
His time appears to be rapidly approaching.
As a freshman, Austin saw time in all 13 games, starting four. He finished the season with 15 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns and ESPN.com named him to the All-BIG EAST freshman team.
In high school, Austin could overcome any challenge with his amazing speed and natural instincts. In college he has learned that there are many players with similar physical gifts and he has had to become more of a student of the game.
“Last year I was thinking too much and couldn’t really play at my full speed. I only knew one coverage, I didn’t know anything about different coverages, and it really matters because the routes change with different coverages. “It was a big change,” Austin said.
Austin has also made the transition to the college classroom smoothly. He was named to the Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll at West Virginia. As he continues to learn and gain opportunities to possess the ball, it is only a matter of time before he begins to show the nation what he showed Baltimore for four entertaining falls.
Austin’s teammate Terrence Garvin, a sophomore from Baltimore, also had a big game on the defensive side of the ball Saturday.
Garvin, who starred at Loyola Blakefield on a team that went 11-0 his senior year, led the Mountaineers with 10 tackles, including six solo. He was named the Defensive Champion, one of several weekly awards handed out by the Mountaineer coaching staff.