BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Though the pursuit of a third consecutive Conference USA championship is already underway in the weight room, the 2017 WKU Hilltoppers will hit the field for the first time under head coach Mike Sanford on Thursday when they begin spring practices.
All 14 practices lead up to the annual Red and White Spring Game, set for April 22 at 3 p.m., and all practices are open to the public. Admission and parking to the spring game will be free and more details will be announced soon.
The Hilltoppers enter 2017 with the return of C-USA Newcomer of the Year, quarterback Mike White, as well as veteran offensive linemen Brandon Ray and Dennis Edwards to lead the charge up front for offensive coordinator Junior Adams. Defensively, three-year starters Derik Overstreet and Marcus Ward, as well as senior cornerbacks DeAndre Simmons and Joe Brown return to lead new defensive coordinator Clayton White’s defense.
In all, the Hilltoppers return 10 starters (four offense, six defense) from last season’s 2016 Boca Raton Bowl championship team, the team’s third consecutive bowl championship. But, the Red and White will need a strong spring to find new starters at key positions. Receivers Lucky Jackson and Nacarius Fant return as budding stars on the outside while All-Freshman team running back Quinton Baker enters his sophomore campaign. That trio, along with numerous other potential stars, will need to carry the load to replace the top two receivers in school history in Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris, and the school’s all-time leader in touchdowns scored, Anthony Wales (tied with Willie Taggart).
Defensively, both starting corners return as well as rising senior defensive end Tanner Reeves to complement Overstreet, and junior college products Jaylon George and Carson Jordan will compete with other returning Hilltoppers to fill a spot vacated on the interior defensive line by Omarius Bryant, an All-Conference USA performer a season ago.
The Hilltoppers will practice from approximately 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday with Friday practices running from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
1. Thursday, March 23
2. Friday, March 24
3. Tuesday, March 28
4. Thursday, March 30
5. Friday, March 31
6. Tuesday, April 4
7. Thursday, April 6
8. Friday, April 7
9. Tuesday, April 11
10. Thursday, April 13
11. Friday, April 14
12. Tuesday, April 18
13. Thursday, April 20
14. Friday, April 21
15. Saturday, April 22 (Red and White Spring Game – 3 p.m.)
How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Football, follow the program via social media @WKUFootball on Twitter and Facebook.