WVU’s Austin Repeats As Hardman Award Winner
WHEELING – West Virginia University football All-American Tavon Austin has repeated as winner of the Hardman Award as the state Amateur Athlete of the Year.
Austin, also the winner of the Hornung Award as the most versatile player in major college football, will be honored by the W.Va. Sports Writers Association at the 67th annual Victory Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 5 at the Village Square Conference Center in Clarksburg.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior receiver-kick returner-running back from Baltimore, Md., is the 12th multiple honoree since 1934 of the oldest statewide award from the 81-year-old WVSWA.
Second in the voting was Cabell Midland’s world-ranked distance runner Jacob Burcham. Other top vote-getters included ex-WVU rifle shooter and Olympic gold and silver medalist Nicco Campriani; WVU All-America basketball player Kevin Jones; WVU record-setting football quarterback Geno Smith; Marshall quarterback and Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year Rakeem Cato; two-time Kennedy Award winner Ryan Switzer from George Washington; WVU record-setting pass receiver Stedman Bailey; and golfer Pat Carter, who won a 13th W.Va. Amateur title.
Austin earned All-America recognition from various outlets including the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, Sports Illustrated, and Pro Football Weekly. He finished eighth in balloting for the Heisman Award. Austin earned first team All-Big 12 Conference both as a receiver and kick returner and was the Big 12’s Co-Special Teams Player of the Year with kicker Quinn Sharp of Oklahoma State.
For the season, Austin compiled 2,910 all-purpose yards – an average of 223.8 yards per game, to rank second in the nation after ranking first as a junior.
This season, he caught 114 passes for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns; ran for 643 yards on 72 carries with three scores; had 32 kick returns for 813 yards and a TD; and returned 15 punts for 165 yards and a score. He was one of only two players in the nation with 500 yards in three different categories and one of three players with 110 or more pass receptions.
Against the University of Oklahoma, he recorded the second highest total all-purpose yards (572) in a single game in FBS history while setting WVU and Big 12 Conference records. In the 50-49 shootout loss to the Sooners, Austin set WVU’s single game rushing record with 344 yards and his two rushing touchdowns made him the first Mountaineer in history to score a TD four different ways (receiving, rushing, kick and punt return) in one season.
Burcham is the most honored boys’ distance runner in Mountain State history. Entering his final track season this spring, he has earned five Gatorade state Athlete of the Year awards in cross country and track. This fall, he won a record third straight Class AAA cross country title with a course record time. Last spring, he repeated as Class AAA 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter track champion while tying his own 800 state meet record and recording the state’s first-ever sub-9 minute 3,200 time. He has committed to the University of Oklahoma.