BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Head coach Tyson Helton’s first recruiting class came together
in a big way as the program added 16 new Hilltoppers to National Letters of Intent
in the early signing period on Wednesday.
“I am really excited about this class of guys who signed today,” Helton said. “They
fit a lot of the needs we were looking for moving into the season. We got some guys
who have some length, some guys who have some speed, we got some bigger bodies who
we added, so we’re really excited about that.”
Of the 16 signees, 10 are expected to enroll at Western Kentucky University for the
spring semester and begin working out with the team.
“(The decision to enroll early) is going to be really good for us to get a jump
start with them, get a chance to work with them in the weight room and have them in
spring football and hopefully be able to make a contribution to our team really
The state of Kentucky was once again good to WKU as the Hilltoppers added class-high
four players from the Commonwealth, including two – Clayton Bush (South Warren) and
Jack Randolph (Franklin-Simpson) – fresh off state championship seasons. WKU also
added three players from Florida, two from Georgia while also dipping into the
Carolinas, Alabama, Tennessee. Californian Manny Allen added a west coast flair to
the class, while punter John Haggerty comes to WKU from Melbourne, Australia.
Australian punters have become more and more prominent across the college football
landscape in recent years, and Haggerty looks to add his name to the national
conversation as well. Five of the previous six winners of the Ray Guy Award, given
to the nation’s top punter, have gone to Australian-born punters.
Despite having just two official visit weekends to recruit and put a staff together,
Helton and company were able to sign a class that hits on many program needs moving
forward, a credit to WKU’s assistant coaching staff according to the head coach.
“Some of the questions about ‘How did you win a battle to get guys?’ and ‘How did
you find guys?’ is because of our assistant coaches just being so experienced and
having relationships in recruiting,” Helton said. “Our staff is very strong, very
tremendous in that area in recruiting, and I think that’s why we were able to put
together such a solid class so quickly.”
The traditional signing period on the first Wednesday in February remains, and space
was intentionally left by the staff to add on to this class. The early signing
period is now in its second season of implementation.