Austin, though, said that's not happening.
"At first I was worried about a couple of people,'' said Austin, who admits he flirted with the idea. "I'm not going to say any names, but most of them were on defense. And on offense, we have a couple of people who could have left. But we know this is our time, so we're all going to come back.''
Austin might be the best underclassman prospect the Mountaineers have and would probably go in the top half of the NFL draft. Given his small size and the way he played this season and on Wednesday night, his stock might never be higher.
But Austin has apparently studied the landscape pretty closely.
"You definitely do think about it, but at the same time you've got to look at a lot of people who are coming out,'' said Austin, who had 280 all-purpose yards against Clemson and finished the season leading the nation in that category. "I just believe that next year's going to be my year, so I'm definitely going to stay one more round, just grind it out and hopefully I get the chance to get to the next level.
"There's a lot of big-time wide receivers coming out. I'm not saying they're better than me, but just as far as size, a lot of them are much bigger than me. I'm sure I can get the job done, but I'm going to stick around one more year and hopefully I get my chance after that.''
And with Austin remaining, as well as Smith and Bailey, WVU goes into next season missing virtually none of the skill players who made this offense so dangerous. And as a bonus, there were but four senior starters on WVU's defense in the Orange Bowl.
All of which leaves a lot of promise for a team that next season doesn't yet know what conference it will play in, but knows it will have the firepower to compete wherever it lands.
"We scored some points and we did some things, but we're not satisfied,'' Smith said. "We still want to come back and do it all over again.
"The sky's the limit for this offense. We just have to make sure we stay level-headed and work hard and remember the things that got us here.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.