Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

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Western Kentucky hoops star to give Hilltoppers football a try

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Coming off a season in which he was the best player on Western Kentucky’s men’s basketball team, Justin Johnson is going to try his hand at another sport.

According to the Bowling Green Daily News, Johnson will practice with the Hilltoppers football team for the remainder of spring practice. The 6-7 forward will, not surprisingly, spend his time at tight end.

At the end of practices this spring, a WKU official told CFT, both sides will determine what if any future Johnson has in the sport.

Johnson admitted in one interview earlier this basketball season that he grew up wanting to play linebacker for Ohio State, and he did play two years of football at his Kentucky high school. Despite the fact that both Kentucky and Louisville had interest in him as a tight end, he ended up signing with WKU’s hoops team in 2014.

That decision has worked out well for both parties as Johnson has led the team in scoring and rebounding each of the past two seasons. He led Conference USA in the latter category as well as double-doubles, and was named second-team all-conference after his junior season.

Victim of alleged WKU football attack plans to file charges

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A former Western Kentucky fraternity member says he was attacked by a group of Hilltoppers football players and plans to file charges.

Jerald Armfield, an alum of WKU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, told WBKO-TV he was caught in an ongoing feud between the fraternity and the football team:

“I went to the house in the best interest of the fraternity and Western as a whole to prevent any type of violence from occurring. We got up there and realized they were all hiding behind garbage cans, trees, and buildings.”

“I never in my wildest dreams thought they would attack me in the manner that they did. They all started surrounding me. One of them threw a rock at me. It was within a few seconds that one of them punched me in the face.”

“I fell down. I was kicked several times. The whole time they were beating me, I was begging them to stop, telling them I wasn’t here the night before, I had nothing to to do with it, like please stop, please stop, and they didn’t.”

Armfield said between nine and 10 people ultimately attacked him; it isn’t known for sure how many of that group are on the football team, though the program’s involvement in the incident is being investigated.

“We are aware of the allegations involving a few members of our football team,” the program said in the statement when word of the altercation broke three weeks ago. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities. However, at this time, we have not received a police report and cannot provide further comment.”

While the status of the investigation is currently unknown, Armfield told WBKO he would like it to end with multiple charges. “I made it very clear that night when the police arrived on the scene that I wanted charges pressed,” he said. “As far as I know a detective from Bowling Green Police Department has it. As it stands right now, I still want charges pressed. They need to be held accountable for what they did not only as citizens but as students at Western.”

WKU RB Leon Allen medically cleared to return to practice

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Leon Allen‘s return from a devastating injury has taken a major step forward.

In September of 2015, Allen, one of the top running backs in Conference USA, sustained a significant and serious knee injury in Western Kentucky’s Week 2 win over Louisiana Tech.  While he received a medical hardship waiver in March of last year, he hadn’t played in a game or even fully participated in practice since the injury.

Tuesday, that all changed as the football program confirmed that Allen has been medically cleared to participate in practice.  The Hilltoppers will kick off spring practice Thursday afternoon, with the back adding the next chapter to his comeback.

“There are a lot of Western Kentucky fans that have been around the program multiple years who haven’t seen an athlete do some of the things he’s done on the field,” head coach Mike Sanford said according to the Bowling Green Daily News. “To me it’s disappointing to think there’s even a thought of him not having a chance to return to that football field.

“So the football side of it to me is extremely important to … end what he started well.”

Allen was far and away the Hilltoppers’ leading rusher in 2014, totaling 1,542 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Those totals were good for third in Conference USA and 18th nationally.

The multi-purpose back was also a threat out of the backfield, with his 51 receptions that season finishing up fourth on the team.

Former Alabama, WKU QB Parker McLeod not on Georgia’s roster

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It appears Parker McLeod‘s winding college football odyssey has taken yet another turn.

As initially noted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, McLeod is not listed on Georgia’s updated spring roster. The quarterback joined the Bulldogs as a walk-on last season.

McLeod was a three-star member of Alabama’s 2013 recruiting class.  After redshirting his true freshman season, he left Alabama in May of last year before landing at WKU two months later.  Because of NCAA transfer rules, he was forced to sit out the 2014 season.

After never playing a down at WKU, McLeod moved on to UGA as a student only in 2015.

McLeod is the second quarterback to have departed the Bulldogs this month. A little over a week ago, UGA announced that Brice Ramsey has decided to transfer out.

With the twin departures this month, UGA now has two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster — sophomore and returning starter Jacob Eason and freshman Jake Fromm. The only other player at the position is walk-on Sam Vaughn.

In quotes distributed by the school after Kirby Smart had previewed spring practice with the media, the head coach addressed the depth, or lack thereof, at quarterback.

We’ve got three quarterbacks in the spring. Obviously, those three guys will be working. Sam (Vaughn) will be working with Jacob (Eason) and Jake (Fromm). We’re excited about the work that we’ve been able to get in with them right now through meetings. They’ve been doing some seven-on-seven on their own. The biggest thing right now is yeah, we’ve got a depth issue. We’ve got some really good preferred-type walk-on guys coming in in the fall. We don’t have another signee obviously coming in, and that’s something we’ve got to address in the upcoming year’s recruiting class. From a standpoint of development or arms, I’m more concerned with being able to get functionality at practice when you only have three quarterbacks. We don’t really have a person to move over there. We’ve got guys who played high school quarterback, but they’re at another position for us now and we don’t want to have to sacrifice that. We’ll continue to work the way we’ve got to with those three guys. They’ll get a lot of work, that’s the good thing, and we’ll probably have some help out there with us just to throw balls.

Western Kentucky players under investigation for frat house attack

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It’s not quite time to reset the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker, but a developing situation in Bowling Green has it trending in that general direction.

First reported by TMZ.com, the Bowling Green Daily News has confirmed that police “are investigating an assault reportedly involving Western Kentucky University football players that took place outside a fraternity house late Sunday night.” The names of the players involved have not yet been released.

From the gossip website:

According to the police report, obtained by TMZ Sports, an alumni member of the Pike house was initially called to the scene by a current member who told him “several football players were outside” looking to fight.

The alum says he confronted the men to get them to leave — but instead, one of the guys tackled him into a fence and began beating him. A Pike member says he tried to break things up and was also attacked. The alum says he went to the E.R. for his injuries.

Cops were then called … and tracked down one of the football players who admitted he and his teammates went to the Pike house to retaliate after someone got jumped at a Pike party the night before.

Cops say one of the victims claims several of the suspects were carrying guns. At least one suspect allegedly had a box cutter knife.

“We are aware of the allegations involving a few members of our football team,” a statement from the school began. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities. However, at this time, we have not received a police report and cannot provide further comment.”

The Hilltoppers, who went 11-3 in 2016 after a 12-win season the year before, will be in its first year under new head coach Mike Sanford after Jeff Brohm left for the same job at Purdue.