Continuing on with our 100 day countdown to WVU’s season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide, we have reached day 10 the number once worn by WVU running back, Steve Slaton.
Originally from Levittown, PA, Slaton was a three-year member of the WVU football program, from 2005 to 2007. During his Mountaineer career, Slaton made 36 appearances (33 starts) for the team. In those games, Slaton rushed for 3,923 yards, and a school-record 50 touchdowns. He was also a threat in the passing game as he recorded 65 career receptions for 805 yards, and five touchdowns.
Along with finishing his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in career rushing touchdowns, Slaton ranks third on the school’s all-time list with 330 points scored, while he sits in sixth place in career rushing yards. He also owns the school record for most touchdown’s scored in a single game (six in the 2005 Louisville game), and yards in a single season with 1,744 in 2006.
Slaton earned second team, all-Big East honors his freshman and junior seasons, as well as garnering a first team selection from the conference in 2006. He also was a consensus, first team, All-American his sophomore season, and helped the team earn two-Big East championships and two BCS bowl berths (2005 and 2007), during his time in the program.
As a freshman, Slaton had to earn playing time as the 2005 campaign began. By season’s end, Slaton, along with quarterback Pat White, helped to form one of the most lethal running tandems in the country. During his first season in the program, Slaton appeared in ten of the Mountaineers 12 games (seven starts) where he recorded 1,128 rushing yards, and 17 rushing touchdowns. He also made 12 receptions for 95 yards as he helped lead the Mountaineers to a record of 11-1 overall, and the school’s first outright conference championship since 1993.
Slaton’s most memorable game during the season was WVU’s triple overtime thriller against Louisville. That day, Slaton asserted himself as the team’s definitive starter at running back as he rushed for 188 yards, and five touchdowns in the come from behind victory. Slaton also caught three passes for 20 yards, and a touchdown to help complete WVU’s 17 point comeback to upset the #19 Cardinals 46-44.
He would cap off his freshman year with an exciting 204 yard, three touchdown performance in the 2006 Nokia Sugar Bowl against Georgia. Slaton’s efforts earned him game MVP honors, and helped the Mountaineers upset the SEC champion Bulldogs 38-35. Following the season, Slaton earned second-team, all-Big East honors, and was named Big East rookie of the year.
The following year saw the electric 5’10”, 190 pound tailback turn in his best season statistically on the collegiate level as he rushed for a record 1,744 yards, along with 16 touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns.
Slaton’s best game during his sophomore year came in the 99th edition of the “Backyard Brawl”. In the game, Slaton amassed over 300 all-purpose yards (215 rush; 130 receiving) in a decisive 45-27 road victories over their bitter rivals. It was the very first time in school history a Mountaineer player amassed both 100 yards rushing, and 100 yards receiving in a single game.
The Mountaineers finished the season with a second straight 11 win output as they defeated Georgia Tech 38-35 in the 2007 Gator Bowl. Following the season, Slaton was a first team, all-Big East selection. He was also a consensus, first team All-American as he finished the season with the third most rushing yards in the nation.
Slaton played out his final season with the Mountaineers in 2007. That year, Slaton once again reached the 1,000 yard mark in rushing yards as he registered 1,051 yards, and 17 touchdowns on 211 carries.
Injuries hampered Slaton’s ability to produce the way he had in the two seasons previous leading to freshman backs like Noel Devine, and Jock Sanders to see playing time throughout the season. However, Slaton was again able to help the team win a second Big East championship in three seasons, as well as earn a second BCS bowl berth in as many years.
Following a loss to Pitt in the 100th edition of the “Backyard Brawl,” West Virginia had to settle with a bid to the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl where they drew Oklahoma as an opponent. The Mountaineers went on to win the game 48-28 to finish the season 11-2 overall. Slaton, had to leave the bowl game early, due to injury. This is noteworthy because the game would be the final time the WVU legend would ever suit up for his collegiate alma mater.
At season’s end, Slaton was named a second team, all-Big East selection by the conference. He was also a first team, All-American selection by Playboy that same year.
Steve Slaton decided to forgo his senior year at West Virginia University in order to pursue a career in professional football. Slaton went on to enter his name into the 2008 NFL draft where he was selected in the third round by the Houston Texans.
Slaton quickly became the starting running back of the Texans in his first season with the squad. He finished the season with 1,282 rushing yards with 13 touchdowns. Over the course of his rookie season, Slaton earned league “Rookie of the Week” honors multiple times, and was in the running for Rookie of the Year honors at years’ end.
However, injuries led to Slaton’s downfall over the next three seasons, leading to his eventual departure from the league. Slaton has recorded 1,896 rushing yards, 808 receiving yards, and 18 all-purpose touchdowns so far in his NFL career.
Slaton is currently on the roster of the Toronto Arognauts of the Canadian Football League. In three regular season games this year, Slaton has rushed for 129 yards, and caught 13 passes for 146 yards, and two touchdowns. This season, Slaton has had two 100+ all-purpose yard games for the Argos, starting one game for the team at running back.
All countdown profiles of numbers 100-11 are still available here at WVUPros.com