Bronco News Updates - 1/13

There is a lot of news currently surrounding the Bronco athletic program. Here are a few short updates on the current goings on!

Big East QB transfers to WMU

Junior-to-be Ryan Cubit, son of former WMU offensive coordinator Bill Cubit (1997-99), has left the Rutgers program and is enrolled as a full-time student at Western Michigan.

The 6-3, 215-pound Cubit set school freshman records for passing yards (1,433), completions (120), attempts (268) and touchdown passes (9) in 2001. Last year, he split starting duties for the 1-11 Scarlet Knights, completing 64-of-141 passes for 657 yards, while throwing five touchdowns and six interceptions in eight games. Per NCAA rules, Cubit will sit out the 2003 season but can participate in spring drills with the Broncos.

Afariogun headed to Gridiron Classic

Senior TE Mobolaji Afariogun (Mo-bull-lie-GEE Ah-fair-EE-oh-gan) will take part in the Gridiron Classic All-Star Game, to be held Jan. 25 in the Orlando Citrus Bowl. The game falls on the same date as the Paradise Bowl in St. George, Utah — a game Afariogun had previously been invited to, along with teammate Jermaine Lewis. Afariogun has opted to play in the Florida contest, following in the footsteps of 2000 participant QB Tim Lester and RB Robert Sanford, who was invited in 2001 but did not play.

Seelye Center opens

WMU football student-athletes will begin individual voluntary workouts in the new Donald "J" Seelye Athletic Center this evening (Jan. 13). The $25 million facility is still under construction, but its turf bay area containing the 80-yard AstroPlay synthetic turf, is completed.

The turf bay encompasses 50,000 square feet and with a height of 80 feet in the center, allows for punting and kicking drills.

In addition to football, the WMU soccer, baseball, softball and golf teams will also use the Seelye Center as their home base.

"By opening the Seelye Center doors, we're opening the doors to the future of our program," says coach Gary Darnell. "It's a whole new chapter in Bronco Football."

Broncos sign with AFL Rampage

Former Bronco QB Jeff Welsh (1997-01) recently signed a one-year deal with the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League. Welsh will be one of three quarterbacks on the team. The Rampage signed former WMU WR Sean Riley (1995-96) in December and have invited WR Josh Bush (1998-01) to training camp. The AFL season begins Feb. 1 under a new television agreement with NBC Sports.

Final rankings

The NCAA recently released its final statistical rankings for the 2002 season, which included bowl game totals for the first time. NCAA leaders are based on per game averages. DE Jason Babin finished second nationally in tackles for loss (2.17 average — 26) and fourth in pass sacks (1.25 avg. — 15). WS Jason Feldpausch tied for 11th in forced fumbles (0.42 avg. — 5).

In the final MAC rankings, WMU finished No. 1 in total defense (330.7), second in pass defense (179.5) and sacks (33) while allowing the fewest first downs (217).

Recruiting update

While Darnell cannot specifically comment on recruits, he says the recruiting process is going well for his staff. "We've had a sensational response to our offers and have more verbal commitments at this stage of the game than at any other time in the past," says Darnell.

The Broncos will formally announce their 2003 recruiting class on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in a 3:00 p.m. news conference to be held at the Bill Brown Alumni Football Center.

Cappotelli hanging tough

Former Bronco Matt Cappotelli has taken center stage on MTV. Cappotelli is a finalist in the World Westling Entertainment "Tough Enough" reality program that airs Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. Cappotelli survived the first set of cuts and will find out whether or not he is awarded a WWE contract in a live program airing Jan. 23 from Times Square in New York City WMU strength coach Bob Vezeau will be in attendance for the show. Cappotelli played on special teams during the 1999 season and later served as a student assistant on the strength and conditioning staff.

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