Tavon Austin

West Virginia's Tavon Austin carries the ball against TCU in November. (Justin K. Aller, Getty Images / November 3, 2012)

West Virginia star wide receiver Tavon Austin once embarrassed a proud Oklahoma defense with his unique brand of elusiveness.

Almost casually last November, the dynamic former Dunbar standout repeatedly made the Sooners' safeties and linebackers fall to the ground with a series of body-twisting cuts.

Primarily lining up at running back, Austin piled up 572 all-purpose yards against Oklahoma for the second-highest single-game total in NCAA history. He rushed for 344 yards and two touchdowns, caught four passes for 82 yards and gained 146 yards on eight kick returns.

It was another example of why NFL teams are enamored with Austin, a projected first-round draft pick who's often compared to Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin.

When asked Friday at the NFL scouting combine if he's the best multi-dimensional prospect available, Austin issued a reply quick enough to rival his trademark speed.

"I think so," Austin said. "I think I'm the all-around best player in the draft. A lot of teams are looking for that type of player to do multiple things on the field, and I think I'm that guy."

Austin finished his collegiate career with 288 catches for 3,413 yards and 29 touchdowns. Plus, he rushed for 1,033 yards and six touchdowns.

Now, Austin is emerging as a hot name on NFL teams' draft boards.

"Tavon Austin is lightning-quick," Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said. "I watched him on tape again and again, and his ability to create mismatches, especially in the slot, is amazing. You get him isolated against a safety or a linebacker and it's over.

"Some of the things I saw reminded me of Percy Harvin coming out of Florida. He's a mismatch player. If you draft a player like that, you put the ball in his hands and let him do things in space because he's so explosive. He's fun to watch."

Before Austin arrived at West Virginia, he was leading the Poets to three consecutive Class 1A state titles while rewriting the Maryland state prep record book. Austin set records for total yards (9,258), rushing yards (7,962), touchdowns (123) and points (790).

As a senior, Austin rushed for 2,660 yards and 34 touchdowns before converting to wide receiver with the Mountaineers.

"He's a very explosive football player," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. "It's amazing. What he does from a return standpoint, what he did from a receivers standpoint, what he did in that Oklahoma game from a running back standpoint, he's a pretty unique football player."

Among the NFL teams Austin has been linked to in various mock drafts: the hometown Ravens, the New England Patriots, Vikings, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos.

"I've seen a couple of mock drafts that have me going to the Baltimore Ravens, and I think that would be a blessing," Austin said. "I would like to go anywhere that calls my name. I grew up as a Ravens fan, and I liked the Patriots, too. Baltimore is definitely still home. It's always going to be home for me."

Why the Patriots?

Austin emulates shifty Patriots slot wide receiver Wes Welker.

"That's my No. 1 guy," Austin said. "I watch a lot of tape of him. I think I'm a little quicker and faster than him. I figure if he can do it, I can do it too."

Austin's game is built around his speed and moves.

Another facet of Austin's skill set, though, is how he sets up his blocks by anticipating defenders' pursuit angles to remain a step ahead.