HIlltoppers welcomed impressive group of incoming talent on Wednesday

HIlltoppers welcomed impressive group of incoming talent on Wednesday

WKU head football coach Jeff Brohm has had a lot to smile about over the past several months. On Wednesday, the soon to be third-year head coach was eager to talk about his newest recruiting class.

“I feel like we’ve added a lot of outstanding pieces to the puzzle,” Brohm said. “I feel like we addressed a lot of needs.”

With 15 graduating seniors on the defensive side of the ball, it was a priority for Brohm and defensive coordinator Nick Holt to replace some of that departing talent.

“It’s always important to get defensive lineman,” Brohm said. “I think that we have two defensive tackles— high school defensive tackles— in Jeremy Darvin and Jalen Madden that give us size, give us some strength [and] some girth up front that’s hard to get.”

In addition to Darvin and Madden, WKU landed Frankfort defensive end product Anthony Robinson and JUCO transfer Chris Johnson, who Brohm is also excited about.

Perhaps the two biggest gets for the Hilltopper defense in 2016 are Louisville transfer linebackers Keith Brown and Nick Dawson.

Brown totaled 33 tackles in 13 games for the Cardinals last season, and Dawson is also a former 4-star recruit out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Those are two guys that when they walk in the room, they’re gonna stand out,” Brohm said. “I think when they got here they were pleasantly surprised with the facilities. They got to meet the people on campus and around the university and got to see the support that we have and felt that this was a good home.”

Brohm was also excited to get some very talented recruits that fit the offensive scheme as well.

Three-star wide receiver Xavier Lane out of Carver High School in Alabama gives the Tops some more athleticism and explosiveness on the outside. Lane also had offers from Cincinnati, Maryland and MTSU to name a few.

“He gives us that big receiver on the outside that you always want at least a couple of. He had some very good options and when he came on his trip I thought we did a good job of selling what we do on offense and how we can utilize him.”

Brohm noted that sometimes his players are as valuable in recruiting as he is.

“Basically Taywan Taylor was the guy in charge of that. He really hit it off with him,” he said.

Along with Lane, the Tops got a couple of very valuable prospects in running back Quinton Baker and quarterback Steven Duncan. Baker is a blazing fast back that could potentially be the next great running back to come out of WKU.

“He’s a guy that in my opinion has some ability that you don’t see much,” Brohm said. “He came to our camp as well and to be honest with you, he ran some times that we’ve never seen before and we had him run three or four times because we didn’t believe what we saw. He’s extremely fast.”

Speaking of fitting the system, Duncan is the perfect prototype for a Jeff Brohm offense, and that’s how he wants to play at WKU.

“We’ve had a lot of guys at camp and he was the best pure passer, really by far of any of the guys we had,” Brohm said of the 6’ 5”, 231-lb. passer. “I think he saw what we did with Brandon Doughty [and] he understands that most of the quarterbacks on our roster are like that, so we’re gonna build the system around him."

NOTEBOOK:

Brohm also spoke about the coaching turnover from this past season to the upcoming one, and the degree of difficulty in keeping recruits after position coaches come and go.

“I think all of our guys were committed for the right reasons. They understand the product on the field we’ve ben able to produce the last couple of years and they wanna be able to be a part of that,” Brohm said.

Brohm signed former Wake Forest running back Chris Barclay and former Louisville teammate Reggie Johnson to the staff. Barclay will serve as running backs coach and will replace Brian Ellis who will move to quality control.

Johnson will be a defensive assistant after spending the previous two seasons at Alabama A&M and UAB.

Of all the coaching changes and buzz around signing day, Brohm said the most important thing for these new recruits is that they will receive just as many snaps in the summer as the veterans. Brohm wants this class to have plenty of opportunity to compete on the field next year for what is expected to be another solid season on the Hill.


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