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Tavon Austin

Tavon Austin from West Virginia was college football's most explosive player last season. He's hopes to blaze a forty here at the NFL Combine and continue to prove that he plays big.

Indianapolis, Ind. Pound for pound, who's the best player in the 2013 NFL Draft? Just ask the 5-foot-8 and 174-pound Tavon Austin, a wide receiver from West Virginia.

"I am the best all-around player in this draft," Austin proclaimed.

Austin may be on to something. He had an electric career in Morgantown playing running back, wide receiver and returning kicks and punts. This past season he caught 114 passes for 1,289 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. On the ground he rushed for 643 yards with three scores. Austin also scored on a punt and kick return.

Austin started playing the game at age seven, where he was a star running back from the moment in stepped on the field regardless of the level. But Austin was never a big guy and he always had to rely on his speed, quickness and toughness.

"I have been a little guy my whole life," Austin said. "But I play big. Would I like to be two inches taller? Yes, but I am not."

Austin has blazing speed and should run sub-4.4 [forty] here in Indianapolis. That's a goal. While all the pro scouts know he can run like the wind he also wants to prove that he's a strong player.

"I set my goals high coming here," Austin said. "I want to do 15 [reps] in the bench press and run 4.3 [forty] or lower. I want to show them I am strong. Being small, people have always thought I wasn't. But I am and I am durable. I haven't missed a game in eight years so durability has never been a problem with me."

Despite his size, or lack of, Austin was still a four-star recruit coming out of Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar High School. He signed with the Mountaineers out of high school, turning down scholarship offers from teams like Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and others. While he still played his childhood position of running back at West Virginia he had to make a big move to the slot receiver position.

"I had a lot to learn," Austin said. "I had to learn about reading coverages, getting off the jam and watching out for those safeties trying to knock your head off. And I learned a lot from guys like [wide receiver] Steadman Bailey. We came in together and he helped me with my route running. Of course I learned a lot from coach [Dana] Holgorsen. He was always preaching that you have to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. He also taught me how to set up the safeties and linebackers."

Austin caught on quickly. As a sophomore he hauled in 58 passes. As a junior he had 101 for 1,186 yards. This season he became the most dangerous skilled player in the game.

Just ask Oklahoma. At home against the Sooners, Austin exploded for 344 rushing yards (16 carries), caught four passes for 82 yards, and 146 return yards. That day he set school records for yards rushing in a game and all-purpose yards.

"I was more excited than anything," Austin said. "That was my first game at running back last year. But I couldn't have done it without my linemen and the coaches."

The tape doesn't lie. It will show what an incredibly explosive player that Austin has been. He can help a team out in several different ways and he has a chance to become a Wes Welker/Percy Harvin type of player for the team that grabs him in the upcoming draft.

"Wes Welker is my guy," Austin said."I know if he can do it I can do it."

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