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The Shotgun/Throwdown: Tavon Austin shows he still has it, Jose Perez makes his decision, and the basketball money printer go brrr

Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

(Geno Smith | Twitter)

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown.

The Wicker Mountaineer isn’t real. He can’t hurt you.

Before I move on...

What was that thing actually made of and — since I’m operating under the assumption and expectation that this still exists somewhere — where is WVU hiding this monstrosity in Morgantown? FREE HIM FROM IS ANCIENT PRISON!

Anyway, let’s have a good Monday, shall we?

THAT MOFO SAUCY... Geno Smith shared a Twitter video of himself and DK Metcalf working out in California ahead of the start of the Seahawks training camp this week, but it was the third man in the video that drew the attention of NFL great Chad Johnson.

Now 33-years-old, Tavon Austin last saw in-season action with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021, playing 288 snaps across 13 games. Austin signed with Buffalo in June 2022, but was cut and resigned to the Bills’ practice squad in August. He was later released in October.

I’m not saying a comeback is realistic for the former first-rounder, given his injury history, but I sure would like to see it. Pete, buddy, you know what you need to do.

Discover Orange Bowl - West Virginia v Clemson Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

HE’S COMING BACK AGAIN (AGAIN)... After a little over two weeks of “will he or won’t he”, WVU guard Jose Perez put an end to the speculation by withdrawing his name from the transfer portal over the weekend, delivering us a fabled fourth commitment to West Virginia — something only previously achieved by Tevita Finau.

Perez stuck with West Virginia after reportedly fielding serious offers from Gonzaga, Michigan and Oregon, among others.

No need to explain yourself, Jose. I think we can count this one as an extenuating circumstance.

LET’S GO PORTALIN’... In addition to Perez’ re-re-commitment to the Mountaineers, West Virginia also pulled off some impressive portal work late last week with the commitment of former Iona Gaels forward Quinn Slazinski. Slazinski transferred to St. John’s in the Spring, following Rick Pitino from Iona, but didn’t end up staying long. The 6’-8” forward announced his entry into the portal at 9:52 AM on Thursday and by 4:00PM he was a Mountaineer. He arrived in Morgantown on Sunday.

Slazinski averaged 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per in just seven games played for the Gaels in the 2022-23 season before being sidelined with knee and ankle injuries that required season-ending surgery. Currently, Slazinski has one year of eligibility remaining, but the possibility of a medical redshirt for last season may be on the table.

Slazinksi’s commitment leaves Eilert and recruiting director Jay Kuntz room on the roster for two more late transfers—

I’m sorry, I’ve just been handed a note


As I was saying, that leaves room for two more late transfers which, based on how Eilert and his staff have pulled this roster together, I don’t have any reason to believe they won’t be able to do. I think this group of Mountaineers are going to be AₖOK.

MUSKET MIXTAPE... Robby Martin, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2024 from West Virginia has set his commitment date for July 31st... JT Daniels somehow still has eligibility left and is playing at Rice this year. Go Owls... Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss will be the first college football program to implement mental health training... The Cleveland Browns are working out at The Greenbrier this week… The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy has pointed to the state Legislature’s reduced levels of funding for higher education as a driving factor in WVU’s current funding shortfall... Elon Musk has finally killed Twitter... Barbie nearly doubled up on Oppenheimer at the box office this weekend, earning $155M compared to Oppenheimer’s $80.5M.

SONG OF THE DAY... “Bobby Boucher” by Earthgang
Warning: Language. I will be sharing a variety of genres here. If you don’t like today’s song, there’s always tomorrow. Don’t ruin the vibe.


Former WVU pitcher Jackson Wolf made his MLB debut for San Diego, pitching five innings and securing his first win... Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence played the full 90 minutes in Canada’s draw with Nigeria on Thursday... In her Women’s World Cup debut, incoming freshman and Morgantown native Bella Flanigan played 21 minutes in the Philippines’ 0-2 loss to Switzerland... Don Nehlen will be enshrined in the inaugural class of the National High School Football Hall of Fame... The Big 12 Conference unveiled a favorable 2023-24 conference schedule for the Mountaineers.