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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Western Michigan
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  SEPT 20 MAC WEST DIVISION DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Zaire Barnes, Western Michigan, Linebacker, Junior, Mundenlein, Ill. (Carmel Catholic),...Barnes had a career-high 10 tackles to go with two tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries as the Broncos took down Power 5 Pittsburgh, 44-41. Both of Barnes' fumble recoveries led to WMU touchdowns that proved to be a big factor in WMU's close win. - MAC Football

(DS#48 OLB) rJr/2023 OLB Zaire BarnesWestern Michigan
News Source: MAC Football
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  SEPT 20 MAC WEST DIVISION OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kaleb Eleby, Western Michigan, Quarterback, RS-So., Maryland Heights, Mo. (Pattonville),...Eleby picked the Pittsburgh defense apart in WMU's 44-41 win over the Panthers on Saturday. Eleby had season highs in completions with 23, passing yards with 336 and touchdowns with three. This was the first Power 5 win for Eleby in two career games against Power 5 teams and also the first Power 5 win for his head coach Tim Lester. With Eleby behind center the Broncos racked up 517 total yards to outgain Pitt's vaunted offense. - MAC Football

(DS#34 QB) rJr/2023 QB Kaleb ElebyWestern Michigan
News Source: MAC Football
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  Kaleb Eleby threw for 336 yards and three touchdowns and Western Michigan stunned Pittsburgh 44-41 on Saturday. La'Darius Jefferson ran for 78 yards and two scores for the Broncos (2-1), who came into Heinz Field as a 15-point underdog and left it with their first victory over a Power 5 school in five years. Kenny Pickett tossed six touchdowns for the Panthers (2-1) and threw for 382 yards to move past Hall of Famer Dan Marino into second-place on the school's all-time passing list but Pitt fell flat a week after a stirring victory on the road at Tennessee.

Western Michigan rolled up 516 yards of total offense and held the ball for 40 minutes. Pitt did its best to help the Broncos along the way. Eleby's 54-yard touchdown pass to Corey Crooms that put Western Michigan up 34-27 in the third quarter came after Panther defensive backs Erick Hallett II and Brandon Hill collided, allowing Crooms to spin away and race to the end zone. Pitt quickly tied it on Pickett's second touchdown pass of the day to tight end Lucas Krull but the Broncos responded, as they did each and every time the Panthers threatened to take control. Eleby led a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Jefferson bulling over from 3 yards out to make it 41-34. Western Michigan sacked Pickett on fourth-and-6 to snuff out a Pitt response and Parker Sampson's 29-yard field goal gave the Broncos just enough cushion. - Western Michigan/AP College Football


(DS#34 QB) rJr/2023 QB Kaleb ElebyWestern Michigan
News Source: Western Michigan/AP College Football
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  La'Darius Jefferson rushed for 106 yards with two touchdowns, Sean Tyler added 78 rushing yards and another score as Western Michigan blanked Illinois State 28-0 in its home opener on Saturday. The Broncos (1-1) rebounded from an opening weekend thrashing at Michigan of the Big Ten Conference, amassing 407 yards of total offense against Illinois State and holding the Redbirds (1-1) to just 57. The Broncos were driving, up 28-0 with 5:30 left in the game when the stadium lights went out, causing a brief delay.

Western Michigan quickly doused Illinois State's hopes for an upset, driving 75 yards on a game-opening drive that consumed 5:22 and ended with a Jefferson run from the 1. The Redbirds, an FCS school, had defeated FBS opponents in their last two matchups. Saturday, their first five possessions ended with four punts and an interception. Illinois State was 1 for 13 on third down conversions with a total of four first downs. Bryce Jefferson passed for 29 yards with an interception and 10 Redbirds gained 28 on the ground. Corvin Moment led the Broncos defense with six tackles - all unassisted including a sack and three tackles for loss. Kaleb Eleby was 15-for-21 passing for 174 yards and a TD. Eleby entered the game with the top passer rating (195.1) among returning FBS quarterbacks. - Western Michigan/AP College Football


(DS#58 RB) Sr/2022 RB LaDarius JeffersonWestern Michigan
News Source: Western Michigan/AP College Football
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  Statistically, Western Michigan's offense was one of the most explosive units in college football last season, cracking the top 25 in five categories and leading the nation in yards per completion. The NFL took notice, as speedy wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge went in the second round of April's NFL draft, and the big-play nature of the Broncos' attack also caught the eye of Bryce Nunnelly, a two-time all-conference wide receiver at Tennessee Chattanooga.

The 6-foot, 195-pound senior entered the transfer portal following his team's coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign, and when looking for a landing spot, two things stood out about WMU: the Broncos' high-scoring offense and his connection with receivers coach Greg Harbaugh, who coached Nunnelly's position at Chattanooga in 2018. "I would say that one of the biggest things - well, there were a few good things - but one was that the offense was really good," Nunnelly said of his WMU pick. "They averaged - I don't know exactly how many it was, close to 40, if not more than 40 points last year. It's an RPO-heavy offense, the receivers are heavily involved, and also coach Harbaugh, I had a previous relationship with him at Chattanooga. He was here, and that was another big reason why I decided to come here." Nunnelly's estimation of the Broncos' scoring offense wasn't far off, with WMU averaging 41.7 points per game in 2020, which was good for ninth nationally. - Kalamazoo Gazette


(DS#134 WR) rSr/2022 WR Bryce NunnellyWestern Michigan
News Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
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  In 2018, it was linebacker Najee Clayton and cornerback Juwan Dowels; in 2019, it was receiver Keith Mixon and defensive lineman Tim Collins; and in 2020, it was running back La'Darius Jefferson and safety Bricen Garner. Throughout Tim Lester's tenure, WMU has succeeded in bringing in instant-impact transfers, and this year, there are several candidates who could emerge. On offense, Bryce Nunnelly is the incoming transfer most likely to break out, after the 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver combined to catch 136 passes for 2,031 yards and 12 touchdowns during his last two full seasons with Tennessee Chattanooga. He played in just one game during the Mocs' coronavirus-shortened spring season, so there might be a little bit of rust to shake off and an adjustment period with the move up to Football Bowl Subdivision competition, but Nunnelly fills a need and has a track record of production. - Kalamazoo Gazette

(DS#134 WR) rSr/2022 WR Bryce NunnellyWestern Michigan
News Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
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  Mike Caliendo turned down medical school and a shot at the NFL to return for a final season at Western Michigan, and the bright and talented lineman is being recognized for his abilities on and off the football field. The sixth-year senior and Brookfield, Wis., native was named to the Wuerffel Trophy watch list Thursday, marking his second consecutive appearance on the preseason list, which recognizes Division-I college football players for their on-field success, achievement in the classroom and dedication to community service.

Caliendo is one of 99 student-athletes on this year's watch list and one of two from the state of Michigan, joining Eastern Michigan senior linebacker Tariq Speights. Last year, Caliendo was one of nine semifinalists for the award, which ultimately went to University of New Mexico offensive lineman Teton Saltes. Two former WMU quarterbacks have won the award since its inception in 2005, with Jon Wassink receiving the honor in 2019, and Tim Hiller taking it home in 2009. - Kalamazoo Gazette


(DS#68 OG) rSr/2022 OG Mike CaliendoWestern Michigan
News Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
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  Western Michigan will be without one of its key players in the secondary this season, as all-conference cornerback Patrick Lupro won't be suiting up for the Broncos during the 2021 campaign. A spokesperson for the WMU football team confirmed Lupro is not currently on the active roster, but left open the possibility of a return beyond 2021, saying the junior from Belleville is focusing on academics this fall. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Lupro started all six games during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, tallying 28 tackles (2 for loss) and three pass break-ups for the 4-2 Broncos. - Kalamazoo Gazette

(DS#999 CB) Sr/2022 CB Patrick LuproWestern Michigan
News Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
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  D'Wayne Eskridge returned for his fifth season at Western Michigan aiming to improve his draft stock after an injury cut short a promising 2019 campaign. His patience paid off handsomely Friday, when the Seattle Seahawks selected Eskridge with the 24th pick of the second round (56th overall) in the 2021 NFL Draft. He is the Seahawks' first pick of the draft, after the team traded its Round 1 selection to the New York Jets for safety Jamal Adams. Eskridge, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound Bluffton, Ind., native, is coming of a standout 2020 season, in which he caught 34 passes for 784 yards and eight touchdowns, while adding 467 kickoff return yards and a score on 17 attempts. His 213 all-purpose yards per game led the nation in 2020, and he ranked fourth in receiving yards per game (130.7) and yards per reception (23.1). The Mid-American Conference rewarded Eskridge's efforts by naming him the league's Special Teams Player of the Year and a First Team All-MAC pick at both receiver and returner. - Kalamazoo Gazette

(DS#9 WR) rSr/2021 WR DWayne EskridgeWestern Michigan
News Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
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  As a redshirt sophomore starter in 2020, quarterback Kaleb Eleby showed a command of the offense well beyond his years, and his strong right arm helped turn his pre-snap reads into completions at a rate of 64.7 percent. The Missouri native finished six-game season with 18 touchdowns against just two interceptions and averaged 285.8 yards per contest, and Lester said Eleby was much improved during spring ball. "Kaleb had an unbelievable spring," Lester said. "He had a great fall, don't get me wrong, but we're continuing his process, and I put him in some very unique situations to let him grow, and let him call some plays, which he's never done before, which is a great thing to do." - Kalamazoo Gazette

(DS#34 QB) rJr/2023 QB Kaleb ElebyWestern Michigan
News Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
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  Western Michigan wide receiver Dee Eskridge used his blazing speed to take the college football world by storm last season. On Thursday, he showcased his wheels for an NFL audience taking part in WMU's 2021 football pro day at Waldo Stadium. With scouts from 29 NFL teams on hand, Eskridge and offensive lineman teammate Jaylon Moore went through numerous drills to prove they have what it takes to play at the next level. Eskridge measured in at 5-foot-8.6 inches and 190 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 and 4.39 seconds, which would have tied for third fastest among wide receivers at last year's NFL Combine, but wasn't up to par for the First Team All-Mid-American Conference pick.

"My numbers didn't quite match up to what I wanted them to be at today, but overall, I felt like I had a great day showing the things that they wanted to see, for sure," Eskridge said during a conference call with media. "I just attacked it, so I'm coming out very proud of myself, but there's still more work to be done, so it's a steady grind, really." "I wanted to run a 4.29 today, for sure" Eskridge added. "The weather, it wasn't terrible. I don't know what it was -- it was a little bit cooler. I guess it just wasn't my day for the 4.29, but I still like I'm a 4.29 guy, for sure." - Kalamazoo Gazette


(DS#9 WR) rSr/2021 WR DWayne EskridgeWestern Michigan
News Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
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  The left side of Western Michigan's offensive line will look a little bit different in 2021, but the Broncos will have one all-conference player back to anchor the unit. A team spokesperson confirmed Friday that left guard Mike Caliendo, a 2020 First Team All-Mid-American Conference lineman, will be returning for his sixth and final season of eligibility, while Jaylon Moore, a Second Team All-MAC pick from 2020, has accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl and will pursue a pro football career after three years as a starter at left tackle. - Kalamazoo Gazette

(DS#68 OG) rSr/2022 OG Mike CaliendoWestern Michigan
News Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
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  2020 PAUL HORNUNG AWARD FINALIST: D'Wayne Eskridge, Senior wide receiver/return specialist, Western Michigan,...Eskridge played in all six games, led the nation with 213 all-purpose yards per game (130.7 receiving, 4.5 rushing and 77.3 returning kickoffs.) and scored two different ways – receiving and returning a kickoff. Known for his breakaway speed, Eskridge had touchdown receptions of 85, 76, 57, 51 and 49 yards and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score. He made the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll twice: in a win over Central Michigan when he caught four passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns and recovered two onside kicks late in the game; and in a win over Northern Illinois when he compiled 285 all-purpose yards and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. - The Louisville Sports Commission

(DS#9 WR) rSr/2021 WR DWayne EskridgeWestern Michigan
News Source: The Louisville Sports Commission
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  12/22/20 - Skyy MooreJr/2023, Western Michigan, 5-09, 195 (DS#55 WR) + More +

  2020 ALL-MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM (COACHES): Wide Receiver - Skyy Moore, Western Michigan,...Joining Jaylon Moore on the second team, Skyy Moore finished the year with 388 receiving yards and three TDs. Jefferson capped his season with 624 rushing yards, good for third in the MAC, and five rushing TDs. - Western Michigan Football

(DS#55 WR) Jr/2023 WR Skyy MooreWestern Michigan
News Source: Western Michigan Football
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  2020 ALL-MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM (COACHES): Offensive Lineman - Jaylon Moore, Western Michigan,...Caliendo (first team OL) and Jaylon Moore (second team OL) played in all six games this year and blocked for a Bronco offense that ranked fourth in the league in yards per game (479.7). The seven sacks allowed by the WMU offensive line were the fewest by any MAC team which played its full six-game season. - Western Michigan Football

(DS#25 OT) rSr/2021 OT Jaylon MooreWestern Michigan
News Source: Western Michigan Football
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