West Virginia wide receiver coming up big
College Football Videos
MORGANTOWN, W.VA. — Stedman Bailey is driven by his critics.
Throughout his career, the West Virginia receiver has faced questions and about his height, strength and ability to be a steady pass catcher.
But the doubters have made this season that much sweeter.
"I've been trying to prove that point all my life," Bailey said. "I wasn't rated as high as I should have been just because of my height. It doesn't matter. I just continue to prove the critics wrong if that's how they feel."
Bailey, a redshirt sophomore, has developed into a dangerous threat for West Virginia and is the Mountaineers' most consistent playmaker.
Last season, Bailey showed promise, starting the season with a five-catch, 72-yard performance against Marshall, but he wasn't consistent. He finished the year with 24 receptions for 317 yards.
It's been a different story this season. Bailey has 57 receptions for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns. He ranks first in the Big East and 14th in the country in receiving yards per game (103.7).
Bailey's also just six yards shy of West Virginia's single-season receiving record set by David Saunders in 1996. He should break the record with his first catch against Pitt on Friday.
"A lot of times, I just sit back and smile from my name going in the record books until anybody else passes me," Bailey said.
More than just the big numbers, Bailey's been a dependable target for quarterback Geno Smith. Bailey's gone for more than 100 yards receiving in seven of 10 games this season, a school record.
"His consistency was one of the things that I questioned coming into the year," WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "You could tell that he had the ability to make plays and be a good player. Last year, he was very spotty in that."
Bailey is an outside receiver in WVU's offense, a position more commonly played by taller receivers. But at 5-foot-10, the redshirt sophomore can effectively read defenses, stretch the coverage and get behind the safeties.
Bailey understands the stigma about smaller receivers, but it doesn't matter to him.
"I think it's a mind thing for me," he said. "No matter the height or size of the corner I'm going up against, it's just something that's in me that I know he can't mess with me."
Bailey has two more years in this system at West Virginia to improve, and outside receivers coach Daron Roberts believes he'll do just that.
"I tell him everyday I still think he's operating at about 75 percent," Roberts said. "I don't think he's reached his full potential by a large margin. If he's willing to put in the work, we're going to do that."
Bailey said he has plenty of motivation to do that work.
"Sometimes, I watch ESPN a lot and see the receivers they do talk about," Bailey said. "They're always big guys that are NFL-ready because of their size and stuff. It just pushes me to make the same plays they're making to prove I'm here, too."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency
- Under Rutherford, it’s been a sizeable shakeup for Penguins
- Winnik impresses Penguins in first workout
- Coyotes’ ability to proliferate despite year-round hunting shows need for culling contests, experts say
- Burnett’s farewell tour wishlist has just 1 item: Pirates World Series
- Kiski Area’s Worthing wins 2nd WPIAL Class AAA wrestling title
- McConnell’s 34 points fuel Chartiers Valley’s come-from-behind victory in Class AAA title game
- Big names become available this week via free agency; will Steelers be tempted?
- Pirates notebook: Infield prospect Hanson used to playing elders
- Against Wake Forest, Pitt looks to reverse fortunes on road
- Federal funding cuts stretch researchers to the limit