Junior WVU receiver Stedman Bailey will end his West Virginia career after the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
It's unclear what kind of NFL prospect Bailey will make -- he's undersized at 5'10, but his numbers this season (1,501 yards receiving, 23 touchdowns) are undeniable. Right now, he probably looks like about a third-round pick.
That's not nothing, and a number of factors indicate that this decision makes sense for Bailey. Quarterback Geno Smith and fellow wideout Tavon Austin are graduating, along with much of the WVU offensive line. If Bailey were to return as the lone top-tier talent in WVU's offense, his numbers might falter, and his draft stock might slip. Also, Bailey recently became a father, so he has mouths to feed. Besides, NFL careers don't grow on trees. Bailey has a great opportunity now, and it makes sense for him to take it.
Obviously, this is a tough blow, albeit an unsurprising one, for the Mountaineers, who were already facing what would have likely been a tough 2013 season in the Big 12. They'll have to adjust to life without Smith, Austin and Bailey, and they won't be projected to have a winning team.