West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen announced on Monday that junior wide receiver Stedman Bailey plans to forgo his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL Draft, according to Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail. The Mountaineers will face Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 29.
Bailey is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 14 WR for the 2013 NFL Draft, projecting as a borderline top-100 selection.
Despite battling an ankle injury most of this season, Bailey is among the nation's leaders in every receiving category, including fourth in catches (106), second in receiving yards (1,501) and first in touchdown grabs (23). The FBS record for touchdown receptions in a season is 27 by Troy Edwards of Louisiana Tech in 1998.
Bailey, who earned First Team All-Big 12 honors this season, set numerous school records during his West Virginia career, including 39 career receiving scores. He set several single-game highs against Baylor earlier this season with 13 catches for 303 yards and five touchdowns.
With QB Geno Smith and WR Tavon Austin graduating, Bailey was expected to test the NFL waters. His relationship with Smith dates to high school where they were teammates at Miramar High School in Miami.
After the Mountaineers' final home game on Dec. 1, Bailey was uncertain about his football future.
"I'm not sure about that yet," Bailey remarked about possibly leaving West Virginia for the NFL. "I do have another year of eligibility. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. As of now, I'm not sure."
But after the Mountaineers Bowl Game in a few weeks, Bailey has decided to take his game to the next level.
Dane Brugler is an analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.