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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Western Kentucky
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  The Western Kentucky football team has added yet another transfer this offseason. The Hilltoppers announced Friday the signing of Ohio University transfer offensive lineman Thomas Aronokhale Jr. The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Innsbruck, Austria, native announced his entrance into the transfer portal June 13 via Twitter. He announced via Twitter on July 6 he was committed to the University of Louisiana Monroe but on July 13 announced he was decommitting from the Warhawks and committing to WKU. "After re-considering my decision on where I am going to continue my academic and athletic career I want to announce that I decommit from ULM and that I am committed to Western Kentucky University!" Aronokhale wrote. Aronokhale was listed as a redshirt freshman on Ohio University's 2020 football roster and did not see any game action in two seasons with the program - the Bobcats played just three games in 2020. - BG Daily News

(DS#999 OG) rSo/2024 OG Thomas AronokhaleWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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  Two Western Kentucky football players were named 2020-21 College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-Americans, the organization announced Monday. Punter John Haggerty III earned first-team honors, while Juwuan Jones garnered second-team distinction. Haggerty and Jones are the seventh and eighth CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in program history and the first since defensive back Brian Lowder in 2002. It is the first time the Hilltoppers have had multiple Academic All-Americans in the same season.

The only other Conference USA player to be a 2020-21 Academic All-American was defensive end Tyriq Harris of Charlotte. Meanwhile, there were no other players from Kentucky schools.

Haggerty's first two seasons playing American football have been the two best punting seasons in WKU's 102-season program history. The Sydney, Australia, native averaged 45.9 yards on 45 punts in 2019, then followed it up with an average of 45.7 yards on 56 punts in 2019. Of his 101 total punts, 37 have been 50-plus yards and 37 have been inside the opponent's 20-yard line, while only six have gone for touchbacks. - BG Daily News


(DS#2 P) rSr/2022 P John HaggertyWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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  Phil Steele Publications announced its 2021 Preseason All-Conference USA Teams this week, and eight Western Kentucky players were among those named by the outlet. The Hilltoppers had three offensive players, three on defense and two specialists listed. On the First Team is quarterback Bailey Zappe, who threw for 10,004 passing yards in four seasons with Houston Baptist. This offseason, Zappe transferred to WKU, along with his top three passing targets - wide receivers Ben Ratzlaff, Jerreth Sterns and Josh Sterns - and offensive coordinator Zach Kittley. 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 only one interception. Zappe averaged 484.3 passing yards in HBU's three games against FBS opponents - Texas Tech, North Texas and LA Tech. - BG Daily News

(DS#10 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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  The Western Kentucky football team has added another transfer from a Power Five team. The Hilltoppers announced the signing of Wake Forest transfer defensive tackle Mike Allen on Wednesday. Allen is a 6-foot-5, 285-pound redshirt junior from Sugar Hill, Ga. He played in 11 games across the 2018 and 2019 seasons for Wake Forest but did not appear in 2020. Allen has six career tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and a fumble recovery. He was a four-star prospect out of Lanier High School and the 169th-ranked player in the nation in the Class of 2016 and the No. 27 prospect in Georgia according to Rivals. WKU lost a starting defensive tackle from the 5-7 2020 team earlier this offseason when Ricky Barber made the move to UCF, following former WKU defensive tackles coach Kenny Martin. - BG Daily News

(DS#999 DT) rSr/2022 DT Mike AllenWestern Kentucky
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  Western Kentucky has added two more transfers to its 2021 signing class. The Hilltoppers announced the addition of quarterback Carson Baker and wide receiver Kendall Abdur-Rahman on Tuesday. Baker is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound sophomore that comes to WKU from San Diego State. He entered the 2020 season as the team's starting quarterback and appeared in six games for the 4-4 Aztecs last fall, completing 59 of 104 passes for 617 yards and three touchdowns and three interceptions. He was replaced midseason by Lucas Johnson after helping San Diego State to a 3-1 start and Baker got one more start at Colorado after, but split time with Jordon Brookshire, who started the team's final two games. San Diego State averaged 24.6 points per game and 350.8 yards of offense per game, with 151.4 of that coming through the air. - BG Daily News

(DS#999 QB) rJr/2023 QB Carson BakerWestern Kentucky
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  Less than a month after putting his name into the transfer portal, former Notre Dame running back/wide receiver Kendall Abdur-Rahman has a landing spot. The 6-foot, 190-pound Edwardsville, Ill., product announced on Twitter Tuesday that he'll continue his college football career at Western Kentucky. Because of the NCAA's recent change to its transfer rules, Abdur-Rahman will be able to suit up for the Hilltoppers this fall instead of having to sit out a season. Western Kentucky opens its season Sept. 2 at home against Tennessee-Martin. The Hilltoppers went 5-7 in 2020.

The former high school QB enrolled early at Notre Dame in the spring semester of 2019. His only game action at ND came last season in a 52-0 blowout of South Florida on Sept. 19. He did not record a statistic of any kind in that game. Abdur-Rahman, a junior academically in the fall, could have as many as four years of eligibility at his new school, having redshirted in 2019 and having received the blanket COVID exemption in 2020. - South Bend Tribune


(DS#999 WR) rSo/2024 WR Kendall Abdur-RahmanWestern Kentucky
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  Western Kentucky wide receiver Terez Traynor has entered the transfer portal, WKU confirmed to the Daily News on Friday. The news was first reported on Twitter by the 247Sports Transfer Portal account. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound redshirt sophomore from Louisville appeared in 10 of WKU's games during the 5-7 2020 season with one start coming at BYU. He had four receptions for 36 yards, including two for 24 yards in a 38-21 victory against FIU on Nov. 21. Traynor redshirted his first season at WKU after coming from Doss High School rated as a three-star recruit by 247Sports. - BG Daily News

(DS#999 WR) rJr/2023 WR Terez TraynorWestern Kentucky
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  Western Kentucky transfer quarterback Bailey Zappe was voted the 2020 Southland Conference Fall Player of the Year, the league announced Tuesday. Zappe played four games in the fall for his previous institution, Houston Baptist, and then announced his decision to come to WKU in December. In an abridged 2020 season, the success of HBU's air raid passing offense made headlines throughout the country. In only four games, the Victoria, Texas, native completed 141 of 215 passes (65.6%) for 1,833 yards, with 15 touchdowns and one interception. At 458.3 yards per game, Zappe's average led all of college football and ranked 101.3 yards above the leading FBS passer (Dillon Gabriel of UCF, 357 yards per game) in 2020. - BG Daily News

(DS#10 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
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  Dalvin Smith is ready to come back strong from injury once again. The Glasgow graduate and Western Kentucky tight end has been back on the field at Houchens-Smith Stadium this spring for the Hilltoppers after seeing his 2020 season cut short because of a broken leg. "It feels amazing to be back out there with my teammates again," Smith said. "I'm just trying to help us get better every day." The 6-foot-3, 195-pound redshirt freshman saw his first significant action at the college level last fall and was coming on strong before the injury, playing in five games and catching four passes for 58 yards. Two of those were for scores - a 24-yard reception in the team's home opener against Liberty and a 26-yarder in a homecoming loss to Marshall. He also played against UAB and Chattanooga the following two weeks, but was injured midway through the first quarter against the Mocs.

Now, he's back and has been making plays throughout spring for the Hilltoppers. "It's good to have him back out there," said WKU co-offensive coordinator/inside receivers coach Bryan Ellis, who served as offensive coordinator the last two seasons. "It is a complete joy to coach Dalvin Smith. He's, first off, a phenomenal human being, a phenomenal kid. I'd adopt him as my son if his family would let him. That's how much I think about him. "Football-wise, he's a freak. He's 6-2, maybe even pushing 6-3, he's 190 pounds. He runs close to 22 mph. He's got a great catch radius, he's got really long arms, long limbs, he can really jump. He was a great basketball player in high school. The thing for him is the learning curve." - BG Daily News


(DS#999 FB) rSo/2024 FB Dalvin SmithWestern Kentucky
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  Western Kentucky linebacker Clay Davis has announced his decision to end his football playing career. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound redshirt senior was attempting to make a comeback this spring after a knee injury sustained in 2020 fall camp left him out for the entire season. Davis tore his ACL and meniscus again during spring practice March 30. "The past 8 months has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. On August 27th, I had my first surgery to repair my ACL and meniscus. I rehabbed and grinded in the training room to get back with my teammates for spring practices," Davis wrote in a post on Twitter. "About 3 weeks into spring on March 30th, I retore my ACL and meniscus. After prayers and long talks with family, I have decided it is in my best interest to medically retire from the game of football. This has not been an easy decision for me, but it is the best one. I do not plan to be completely done with football. I am and will be searching for a GA coaching position. I want to thank you all of you for all of your support, prayers, and words of encouragement. The Hill will always be my home." - BG Daily News

(DS#999 OLB) rSr/2022 OLB Clay DavisWestern Kentucky
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  Just days before Kendall Abdur-Rahman enrolled at Notre Dame for the first time, in June of 2019, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly gave voice to a premonition that the three-star prospect might surprise a few people. And quickly. Yet after two full seasons and three spring practices into a third, Abdur-Rahman has decided to continue that quest at another school. Friday afternoon, the 6-foot, 190-pound junior-to-be announced on his Twitter account that he is entering the transfer portal. He also thanked the coaching staff and praised the Notre Dame experience.

The decision is all about finding traction on the depth chart - something that former standout quarterback at Edwardsville (Ill.) High near St. Louis struggled to do at both wide receiver and running back. His only game action at ND came last season in a 52-0 blowout of South Florida on Sept. 19. He did not record a statistic of any kind in that game. Abdur-Rahman played running back for the Irish in 2020, but when freshmen Logan Diggs and Audric Estime arrive in June, the Irish will have five players and plenty of quality and experience. - South Bend Tribune


(DS#999 WR) rSo/2024 WR Kendall Abdur-RahmanWestern Kentucky
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  Western Kentucky's quarterback competition has lost some of its competition. Tyrrell Pigrome, the Hilltoppers' starting quarterback last fall, has entered the transfer portal, the program confirmed to the Daily News on Wednesday. Chris Hummer of 247Sports was the first to report Pigrome's entrance in the portal. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound graduate transfer from Maryland started 10 games last year and appeared in 11. He completed 171 of 297 passes for 1,603 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions - both of which came in a loss to Georgia State in the LendingTree Bowl. The dual-threat quarterback was WKU's second-leading rusher with 337 yards and four touchdowns on 105 attempts. Pigrome came from Maryland last spring, where he had 2,407 yards of offense in 34 games, including seven starts. - BG Daily News

(DS#69 QB) rSr/2022 QB Tyrrell PigromeWestern Kentucky
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  With the majority of the FCS season getting canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, HBU played just four games, but still put up eye-popping numbers on offense. The Huskies averaged 33.7 points per game, with three of those four games coming against FBS opponents, and averaged 459.5 yards passing per game. Zappe, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound graduate student, completed 141 of 215 passes for 1,833 yards and 15 touchdowns to just one interception. His yards passing per game were over 100 more than UCF's Dillon Gabriel, the FBS leader.

Zappe, who is more of a pocket passer but says he's been working on being able to get out of the pocket, had his signing announced Dec. 27 - the day after WKU's disappointing loss to Georgia State in the LendingTree Bowl. He entered the transfer portal after Kittley's departure from HBU, and says the coordinator was the first call he received. "Western Kentucky was always my number one," Zappe said. "I had great calls with (WKU head) coach (Tyson) Helton - I really like coach Helton, he's a heckuva coach - but I had a few other offers and I was a little bit interested, but my heart was really here at WKU and coming here and playing under coach Kittley for another year. That's the decision I made, and so far it's turned out great." - BG Daily News


(DS#10 QB) rSr/2022 QB Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky
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  Another former Husker is headed to Western Kentucky. Former Nebraska outside linebacker Niko Cooper, who entered the transfer portal recently, will now play football for the Hilltoppers, joining former Husker guard Boe Wilson in the program. Cooper arrived at NU last year as a rare junior college transfer with three years of eligibility remaining, but he wasn't able to find his way up the depth chart during his first season on campus. At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, he has the prototypical length and frame that the Huskers look for at the position. He appeared in Nebraska's final seven games of the 2020 season, but mostly in a special teams role, where he registered three tackles. - Lincoln Journal Star

(DS#999 OLB) Jr/2023 OLB Niko CooperWestern Kentucky
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  Western Kentucky has announced the dates of its 2021 spring football practice schedule, which begins Tuesday. Third-year head coach Tyson Helton and the Hilltoppers will hold 13 practices leading up to the 2021 Spring Game on April 17. Fans will be able to attend the Spring Game with free admission. Start time is currently TBD, and additional details will be released at a later date. All Tuesday and Thursday practices will be closed to the public. Helton posted a 14-11 overall record (including a 10-5 mark in Conference USA play) and reached a bowl game in both of his first two years at WKU. - BG Daily News

(DS#1 OLB) rSr/2022 OLB DeAngelo MaloneWestern Kentucky
News Source: BG Daily News
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