Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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November 28, 2012

WVU C Madsen among 21 seniors in final home game

(Continued)

It was Jenkins who, on Signing Day 2008, went to the podium at Parkersburg High School wearing a Michigan cap, then threw it to the floor in a swipe at Rodriguez and put on a WVU cap to announce his intentions.

Smith was on the field at times in 2008 when Pat White was weaving his way to an NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback. And his blocking has helped Geno Smith to rewrite the school's record book for a passer.

"I've been here a long time," Jenkins said. "This is my last opportunity. I'm going to make the best of it."

Smith and wide receiver Tavon Austin are the most notable of the seniors, whose accomplishments include last year's one-sided Orange Bowl win over Clemson.

Smith has grown from the player who lined up to take a snap under the wrong player in a game at LSU in 2010 to temporary Heisman Trophy frontrunner this year before the Mountaineers lost five straight games.

Smith joked that the biggest strides over his career came from putting on weight.

"I'm not skinny anymore," he said. "At least not as skinny as I once was."

He recalled visiting a football camp in Morgantown as a 10th grader with his Florida high school coach and former Mountaineer linebacker Damon Cogdell. He remembers when West Virginia would often play a Thursday or Friday night game on national television during its days in the Big East.

"Being here has helped me realize just how important (WVU) is to the community, to everyone around here, to the players, to the staff; from the cooks in the back to the people who help us with academics," Smith said. "It's just an important program to everyone, and everyone needs to come together for it to work."

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