Bronco Football Update

BABIN HEADED TO EAST-WEST SHRINE GAME<br> The speculation is over. All-America defensive end Jason Babin has decided to attend the 79th East-West Shrine Game, slated for this Saturday (Jan. 10) at San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park. The game will be carried live on ESPN, starting at 2:00 p.m.

Babin received invitations from the Blue-Gray Classic (Dec. 25), Hula Bowl Maui (Jan. 17) and the Senior Bowl (Jan. 24). Babin chose the East-West Bowl for several reasons:
"They seemed like quality people and have a great tradition," he said. "They also expressed interest in me early on in the season."
The 6-4, 276-pound Babin has been named to All-America teams by four media outlets, the most notable being The Sporting News (second team). He leads the nation with 23 tackles for loss and ranks second with 15 pass sacks.
Babin will be the first Bronco to play in the East-West Shrine game since OT Tom Nütten's appearance in 1995.

FROSH GARNER MORE HONORS
Little wonder the Bronco freshman class of 2003 was rated the best in the Mid-American Conference by Street & Smith's. Several weeks ago, LB Paul Tithof and TE Tyson DeVree were tabbed Freshman All-Americans by The Sporting News. Tithof and DeVree have been honored again, this time by College Football News.com, which recently named the duo to its Freshman All-America Second Team.
Tithof started 10 games as a redshirt freshman, finishing third in team tackles (88) and fourth in TFLs (10). DeVree, a true freshman, was pushed into action when Tony Scheffler went down to injury in the season opener. DeVree led Bronco tight ends with 30 receptions, placing fourth on the team in that category along with 331 receiving yards. He also caught passes in 11 straight contests.

AKE JOINS ARMY STAFF
Wally Ake, who spent two seasons coaching safeties and special teams at Western Michigan, was named to Bobby Ross' staff at Army on Dec. 19.
Ake, who was recruited by Ross as a player at William & Mary, appreciated his time at WMU.
"I've been blessed to be able to work at Western. They are going to have a good team next year with the talent that is coming back. Everything is in place to make it happen."

FINAL NCAA RANKINGS
With the Sugar Bowl bringing to a close the college football season, Western Michigan secured its spot among national statistical leaders. The Broncos finished eighth nationally in passing offense (308.42) while individually, Adam Anderson placed 15th in punting (43.9), Greg Jennings 16th in all-purpose yards (144.5) and Kendrick Mosley 18th in receptions per game (6.42).

ALUMNI UPDATE:
LESTER HIRED AT ST. JOE'S
Former Bronco great Tim Lester (1995-99) has been hired as head coach at Division II Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind. His first hire was former teammate Jake Moreland (1995-99), who will serve as assistant offensive coordinator and special teams coordinator.
Lester spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator at Division III Elmhurst (Ill.) College. Under Lester, Elmhurst set 11 offensive records last season.
"We're going to be exciting to watch," Lester said upon his hiring. "Our fans are going to see the ball in the air a lot and see us put pressure on defenses."
Lester finished his career ranked fifth in NCAA career passing yards (11,299) and seventh in touchdown passes (87). Moreland ended his career standing fourth in WMU receptions (143), seventh in touchdown catches (13) and 10th in receiving yards (1,414). Both players were All-MAC Second Team picks their senior seasons.

ALUMNI FILLING AFL ROSTERS
Several Bronco alumni are looking to earn roster spots with the opening of Arena League training camps this month.
QB Jeff Welsh (1997, 99-01) and WR Josh Bush (1998-01) have signed with the Grand Rapids Rampage while the trio of DE Chris Browning (1999-02), C Colin Greczek (1996-00) and K Brad Selent (1997-00) have earned invites from the Chicago Rush. In addition, WR Cory Alston (1997-00) will tryout with the Detroit Fury, CB Ronald "Bo" Rogers (1997-01) with the Colorado Crush and WR Sean Riley (1995-96) with the New York Dragons.
Opening week for the AFL regular season is Sunday, Feb. 8.

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY: FEB. 4
The 2004 Bronco recruiting class will be officially announced on National Letter of Intent signing day, set for February 4.
Head Coach Gary Darnell will unveil this year's list of signees at a news conference tentatively planned for 3:00 p.m. (Feb. 4) in the atrium of the Bill Brown Alumni Football Center.

SPRING PRACTICE
Western Michigan begins preparations for the 2004 campaign with the opening of spring drills on Tuesday, March 16. A date for the spring game has yet to be finalized.

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