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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Western Kentucky
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  Bailey Zappe passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns and Western Kentucky pulled away in the second half to beat Florida International 34-19 in Conference USA play on Saturday. Western Kentucky (3-4, 2-1) scored on its last three possessions of the first half to take a 17-12 lead into intermission. Adam Cofield erased a 6-0 deficit with a 3-yard TD run. FIU regained the lead on Max Bortenschlager's 75-yard first-down scoring strike to Randall St. Felix, but Brayden Narveson kicked a 22-yard field goal and Zappe connected with Mitchell Tinsley for a 32-yard TD with 17 seconds left and the Hilltoppers never trailed again. Zappe hooked up with Jerreth Stearns for a 20-yard TD on WKU's first possession of the third quarter and he hit Stearns for a 2-yard TD on the Hilltoppers' first possession of the final quarter for a 31-12 lead. Zappe completed 39 of 49 passes. Stearns finished with 14 receptions for 116 yards. Bortenschlager completed 15 of 32 passes for 186 yards for the Panthers (1-6, 0-3). St. Felix had five catches for 194 yards, while D'Vonte Price rushed for 86 yards on 14 carries. - Western Kentucky/AP College Football

(DS#6 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
News Source: Western Kentucky/AP College Football
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  OCT 18 C-USA OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WKU WR Jerreth Sterns continued his incredible receiving run in WKU's 43-20 victory at ODU, as he totaled 13 receptions for a career-high 221 yards and career-long 74-yard touchdown. Sterns became the second Hilltopper in program history to eclipse the 200-yard receiving mark and first since 1995. He had eight catches for 188 yards in the first half alone, as WKU took a commanding 30-3 lead into the break. In a three-game span - against undefeated Michigan State, undefeated UTSA and the Monarchs, who previously had the No. 2 defense in Conference USA - Sterns has accumulated 46 receptions for 602 yards and four touchdowns. Sterns leads all FBS receivers with 69 receptions for 962 yards, while his eight touchdowns are tied for fourth. - C-USA Football

(DS#26 WR) rJr/2023 WR Jerreth SternsWestern Kentucky
News Source: C-USA Football
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  Bailey Zappe threw four of his five touchdown passes in the first half as Western Kentucky jumped out early and beat Old Dominion 43-20 on Saturday. Zappe, who entered as the nation's active leader with 12,239 career yards passing, was 37-of-54 passing for 397 yards. Jerreth Sterns had 13 receptions for 221 yards that included a 74-yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter as the Hilltoppers built a 30-3 halftime lead. Dakota Thomas had a pair of touchdown catches for Western Kentucky (2-4, 1-1 Conference USA). Malachi Corley and Daewood Davis each made a scoring catch. Blake Watson and Elijah Davis had a fourth-quarter touchdown run apiece for Old Dominion (1-6, 0-3). Watson carried the ball 22 yards for 104 yards. Davis had 10 carries for 53 yards. - Western Kentucky/AP College Football

(DS#6 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
News Source: Western Kentucky/AP College Football
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  OCT 4 CONFERENCE USA OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: QB Bailey Zappe completed 46-64 (71.2%) passes for 488 yards, with three touchdowns and zero interceptions at No. 17 Michigan State. It was the third-most passing yards against a Spartans' defense since 2000 (via Sports-Reference.com). Zappe's 488 yards were the fifth-most in WKU history and the most by a C-USA quarterback since ODU's Blake LaRussa had 495 vs. Virginia Tech in 2018. Zappe's 46 completions tied the WKU all-time record set by Brandon Doughty vs. Bowling Green in 2014 and were the most by a C-USA quarterback since that same performance. For the season, Zappe is now 133-183 (72.7%) for 1,712 yards, with 16 touchdowns compared to only two interceptions on the year. Zappe's 428.0-yard average leads all FBS quarterbacks and he has three of the four 400-yard passing performances among all C-USA quarterbacks in 2021. - Conference USA Football

(DS#6 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
News Source: Conference USA Football
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  SEPT 27 CONFERENCE USA CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WKU S A.J. Brathwaite led the WKU defense with a career-high 15 total tackles (nine solo, six assisted) while adding a sack and a forced fumble against Big Ten opponent Indiana. A first-year starter, Brathwaite came into the season with 18 career tackles in 28 games at WKU. His 15 tackles tied for the fourth-most by a Hilltopper defender since the program joined FBS in 2009. The 15 tackles is tied for the most this season by a C-USA player. - Conference USA Football

(DS#999 FS) rSo/2024 FS A.J. Brathwaite Jr.Western Kentucky
News Source: Conference USA Football
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  SEPT 13 CONFERENCE USA CO-OFFENSIVE OF THE WEEK: A week after throwing for 424 yards against an FCS opponent, Zappe one-upped himself against one of the FBS' best defenses from a year ago. At Army on Saturday, Zappe completed 28-40 passes (70%) for 435 and three touchdowns, compared to one interception, while adding a touchdown on the ground as well. Zappe's 435 yards were the most allowed by an Army defense to a single quarterback since at least 2000 (per Sports-Reference.com). Through two full weeks of the college football season, Zappe has two of the five 400-yard passing games by all FBS quarterbacks. Zappe leads the FBS with 429.5 passing yards per game, 40.5 yards ahead of the second-best mark of 389.0 by Ohio State's C.J. Stroud. - Conference USA Football

(DS#6 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
News Source: Conference USA Football
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  The move from the FCS to FBS has been no problem for Western Kentucky's Bailey Zappe. The Houston Baptist transfer leads the nation with 429.5 yards passing per game with 10 touchdowns against two interceptions. His 458-yard average in 2020 led all of college football. Zappe has plenty of company from Houston Baptist. Zach Kittley moved with him to be his quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, and receivers Jerreth and Josh Sterns and Ben Ratzlaff also came along. Jerreth Sterns averages a team-leading eight catches for 139 yards and four touchdowns. - AP College Football

(DS#6 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
News Source: AP College Football
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  Bailey Zappe passed for 424 yards and seven touchdowns as Western Kentucky walloped UT Martin in the season opener 59-21 on Thursday night. College football's leading passer in 2020 while playing at Houston Baptist, Zappe opened his Western Kentucky career by hitting Daewood Davis on a 73-yard score to tie the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, then added three more touchdowns in the second quarter to give the Hilltoppers a 28-14 halftime lead. Zappe is the first WKU passer to throw for seven touchdowns in a home game. Zappe was picked off on his second pass attempt of the game and finished 28 of 35. Jerreth Sterens and Joshua Simon each pulled in two scoring passes. Sterens caught seven passes for 107 yards. Keon Howard was 20 of 43 for 195 yards passing and a touchdown and carried 12 times for 44 yards for the Skyhawks. - Western Kentucky/AP College Football

(DS#6 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
News Source: Western Kentucky/AP College Football
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  With the NCAA granting an additional year of eligibility for fall sport student-athletes last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, questions arose surrounding which seniors would return. At Western Kentucky, DeAngelo Malone was one of the biggest - if not the biggest - question marks. The defensive end and 2019 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year elected to return shortly after the conclusion of the 2020 season, and has bigger goals in mind for this fall with the Hilltoppers in the early stages of fall camp. "We're very excited for the upcoming season," Malone said Tuesday at the team's media day. "I feel like we've got a lot to prove and I feel like we've got the guys to do it." Like most in his position, Malone is hoping to eventually take the next step and play in the NFL.

He posted productive seasons throughout his career, but wanted to use the offseason to improve his body and return to the dominant force he was in 2019 when he became the first Hilltopper to be named C-USA's Defensive Player of the Year. In 2019, he had 99 total tackles, including 21 for loss and 11.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown against Southern Miss. His 21 tackles for loss set the program's FBS era record. - BG Daily News


(DS#2 OLB) rSr/2022 OLB DeAngelo MaloneWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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  Western Kentucky has made a late addition to its 2021 roster. The Hilltoppers on Friday announced the signing of Georgia Tech transfer safety Kaleb Oliver. "More Than Excited To Be On The Hill," Oliver wrote in a quote tweet of the announcement. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound redshirt junior played in nine games with four starts last year for the 3-7 Yellow Jackets. He recorded 32 tackles, including four for loss and two sacks, broke up three passes and recovered a fumble. He appeared in 11 games and made six starts at safety as a redshirt sophomore in 2019, finishing seventh on the team with 39 total tackles. He led Georgia Tech with two interceptions, which came against Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Temple's Anthony Russo. After redshirting in 2017, he played in all 13 games in 2018 and collected 21 tackles - 2.5 for loss - while recording an interception, two pass breakups and a forced fumble. - BG Daily News

(DS#999 OLB) rJr/2023 OLB Kaleb OliverWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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  There will be no competition for the starting quarterback position at Western Kentucky entering fall camp. WKU head coach Tyson Helton announced Tuesday at the team's media day at Houchens-Smith Stadium that Bailey Zappe would be the team's starting quarterback. "I think we're in a position right now where Bailey Zappe is going to be the quarterback," the third-year head coach said. "He's been here long enough - he was with us during the spring, he was with us during the summer, our staff's been able to make evaluations. I think it's better for us moving into this season having that guy in place and he knows he's the guy. I think we can go ahead and say, 'Yeah, he's going to be the starter." Zappe joined the team during the offseason as a transfer from Houston Baptist - the same program new WKU offensive coordinator Zach Kittley comes from.

WKU, which opens fall camp Wednesday, also signed receivers Jerreth and Josh Sterns and Ben Ratzlaff from HBU. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Victoria, Texas, native didn't learn he'd be the starting quarterback until Helton's announcement Tuesday at media day. "I guess I found out the same time y'all did - just now. They kind of kept it under wraps," Zappe said. "We had a great spring, great summer, I was working toward being the starter and I'm real excited to get it started. I'm grateful coach Helton gave me the starting spot." Zappe threw for 10,004 passing yards in four seasons with HBU. In the four games of the Huskies' fall 2020 schedule, Zappe completed 141 of 215 passes (65.6%) for 1,833 yards, with 15 touchdowns and one interception. - BG Daily News


(DS#6 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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  For the second time in as many days, Western Kentucky's football team landed a reinforcement from close to home. The Hilltoppers announced via Twitter that former Bowling Green High School standout DeAngelo Wilson, who entered the transfer portal this offseason following a stellar career at FCS program Austin Peay, has joined the program. On Monday, Wilson's former teammate from his Purples days - fullback Jamale Carothers - was announced as a transfer to WKU from the Naval Academy.

Wilson is coming off a truncated senior season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a shortened schedule, Wilson thrived once again for the Governors and was named the Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Wilson followed up a record-breaking 2019 campaign with 619 yards - sixth among FCS receivers - in a shortened 2020-21 season. He did the bulk of his damage in OVC play, where he recorded 100 yards in four of the five games he played and averaged 112.4 yards per game with three touchdowns. - BG Daily News


(DS#999 WR) rSr/2022 WR DeAngelo WilsonWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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  Western Kentucky football specialists Brayden Narveson and John Haggerty III are included on preseason watch lists, the school announced Wednesday. Narveson earned a spot on the Lou Groza Award Watch List, while Haggerty was named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List. The Hilltoppers were one of 12 programs with both a kicker and a punter honored. After transferring to WKU in the summer of 2020, Narveson won the starting kicking job during fall camp and didn't look back, producing one of the most accurate campaigns in WKU's 102-season program history. The redshirt sophomore transfer made 13-of-14 field-goal attempts and was 27-of-27 on extra-point tries in 2020, scoring 66 total points in 12 games. His 93% field-goal mark tied for third among all FBS kickers and ranked second for a single season all-time in WKU history to Garrett Schwettman's 15-of-16 (94%) performance in 2015. - BG Daily News

(DS#12 K) rSo/2024 K Brayden NarvesonWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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  For the second consecutive year, Western Kentucky defensive end DeAngelo Malone has been named to the Nagurski Trophy Watch List, the Football Writers Association of America announced Tuesday. It is the second preseason watch list for Malone, who on July 19 was honored by the Bednarik Award, which recognizes the most outstanding defensive player in college football. The Atlanta native is one of five Conference USA players and one of 22 defensive ends on the initial list of 90. Meanwhile, there were no other players from Kentucky schools. Malone enters his fifth season as a Hilltopper after exercising his option for an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through four campaigns, he has become one of the most accomplished defenders in WKU history.

In 48 career games - 39 of them starts - he has made 255 total tackles (135 solo, 120 assisted) while racking up 42.5 tackles for loss and 25 sacks. Malone's 25th sack Nov. 14, 2020, against Southern Miss set the program's FBS era (since 2009) record, while his 42.5 tackles for loss entering the 2021 season stands only 0.5 behind Andrew Jackson for that record as well. In 2019 he produced 99 tackles - including an FBS era-record 21 for loss - to go along with 11.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hurries. - BG Daily News


(DS#2 OLB) rSr/2022 OLB DeAngelo MaloneWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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  Jamale Carothers is coming home. The standout fullback and 2016 Kentucky Mr. Football out of Bowling Green High School announced his transfer to Western Kentucky via Twitter on Monday after starting his collegiate career at Navy. Carothers has signed with WKU and will be eligible this fall, WKU confirmed to the Daily News. As a junior during the 2020 season in which Navy went 3-7, the 5-foot-9, 203-pound Carothers was his team's second-leading rusher with 358 yards and two touchdowns on 97 carries. He also caught four passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. - BG Daily News

(DS#999 RB) rJr/2023 RB Jamale CarothersWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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