Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

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Western Kentucky dismisses likely starting lineman after arrest

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A dismal offseason off the field for Western Kentucky continues, with a potential, or even likely, starter along the defensive line finding himself on the outside of the program looking in.

A WKU official confirmed Monday that Tanner Reeves has been dismissed from the team. While violating unspecified team rules is the generic reasoning, the Bowling Green Daily News reports that Reeves was arrested very early Sunday morning on charges of careless driving, operating on a suspended driver’s license and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol with aggravated circumstances.

From the Daily News‘ report:

The officer observed Reeves drive a 2007 GMC Yukon across the fog line on Nashville Road approaching the intersection of Nashville Road and Campbell Lane, per a police report.

Upon contact, the deputy detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Reeves’ person and vehicle. He was asked to exit the vehicle and conduct standardized field sobriety tests. During Reeves’ horizontal gaze nystagmus test, he displayed lack of smooth pursuit and maximum deviation. He used his arms to balance during the one-leg stand test. And Reeves failed to maintain the start position eight steps down during the walk and turn, according to the report.

Reeves consented to a preliminary breath test on scene, resulting in the presence of alcohol. Dispatch confirmed Reeves’ license to be suspended.

This was the fifth-year senior’s second brush with the law in less than a year, having been cited for disorderly conduct last October.

Reeves started five of the 14 games in which he played last season. He had been expected to start at one of the end positions for the Hilltoppers this season.

A week ago, WKU confirmed that three players — sophomore running back Quinton Baker, redshirt freshman wide receiver Xavier Lane and redshirt freshman linebacker Tyler Obee — have been suspended for the 2017 opener against Eastern Kentucky not long after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a frat house assault. The day before, starting cornerback De’Andre Simmons was lost for the entire season because of a knee injury.

The Hilltoppers were the media’s preseason favorite to win the East Division of Conference USA.

Three Western Kentucky players suspended for 2017 opener

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An offseason off-field situation has seen its chickens come home to roost for Western Kentucky.

WKU confirmed Tuesday that three football players — sophomore running back Quinton Baker, redshirt freshman wide receiver Xavier Lane and redshirt freshman linebacker Tyler Obee — have been suspended for the 2017 opener against Eastern Kentucky.  Monday, each of those players pleaded guilty to complicity to second-degree wanton endangerment and complicity to fourth-degree assault under extreme emotional disturbance.

Those charges were misdemeanors.

In early June, that trio was charged with first-degree complicity to wanton endangerment; fourth-degree complicity to assault; and third-degree criminal trespass.  The wanton endangerment charges were felonies, while the others were misdemeanors.

All of the charges stemmed from an alleged assault outside of a fraternity house.

Two other players, senior defensive lineman Chris Johnson and redshirt freshman wide receiver Jahcour Pearson, were charged with third-degree criminal trespass stemming from the same incident.  As those are misdemeanors, no game suspensions will be levied.

Last season, Baker’s 575 rushing yards were second on the Hilltoppers, while his four rushing touchdowns were second on the team as well.  For that, he was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team.

Johnson started all 14 games last season and was second on the team with 12.5 tackles for loss, leading to honorable mention All-Conference USA honors.

Western Kentucky loses starting corner to season-ending knee injury

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Western Kentucky’s defensive secondary has taken a significant hit less than a month before the start of the 2017 season.

Late last week, Mike Sanford confirmed that De’Andre Simmons suffered a non-specified knee injury during a Friday practice. As a result, the fifth-year senior cornerback will be sidelined for the entire 2017 season.

The head coach described the injury as being non-contact, which, more times than not, points to an ACL issue.

“He’s a brother of ours, a guy that’s been in this program and sacrificed a lot to put himself in position to have a great senior year,” the head coach said according to the Bowling Green Daily News. “That was a hard loss for all of us. But De’Andre’s an incredible young man and he’ll really bounce back from this. We stand behind him 100 percent.”

Simmons has started 14 games at corner for the Hilltoppers, 12 of which came last season. He had been expected to once again man one of the starting corner spots.

After stops at TCU, Arkansas State, Cameron Echols-Luper to give WKU a try

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Maybe the third time will be a charm for Cameron Echols-Luper?

On his personal Instagram account Wednesday, Echols-Luper revealed that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Western Kentucky.  According to the Bowling Green Daily News, the decision was made following a visit to the school earlier this week.

As a graduate transfer, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Hilltoppers. However, he has to finish up some schoolwork at his former school, Arkansas State, before officially moving on to WKU.

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Echols-Luper began his collegiate career at TCU in 2013, transferring to ASU in 2015. After sitting out that season, he was third on the Red Wolves in receptions (26) and receiving yards (407). His 15.7 yards per reception was second on the team.

Walter Camp releases 2017 Player of the Year Watch List

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Another day, another watch list for a major college football world.

The Walter Camp Foundation released their preseason watch list for the annual Player of the Year award and not surprisingly it has all of the usual stars from around the sport, including last year’s winner Lamar Jackson and the favorite for just about every award in 2017, USC’s Sam Darnold.

The foundation didn’t just stick with quarterbacks and pass rushers however, they also did the noble thing and included one kicker and one punter on their watch list. Kudos for recognizing that special teams players are watch list candidates too. The full list is below.

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming, Jr.

Jake Browning, QB, Washington, Jr.

JT Barrett, QB, Ohio State, Sr.

Sam Darnold, QB, USC, Soph.

Luke Falk, QB, Washington State, Sr.

Quinton Flowers, QB, USF, Sr.

Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State, Soph.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama, Soph.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville, Jr.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma, Sr.

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State, Sr.

Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State, Jr.

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA, Jr.

Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State, Jr.

Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky, Sr.

Running Backs 

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State, Jr.

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia, Sr.

Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama, Jr.

Jarvion Franklin, RB, Western Michigan, Sr.

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon, Sr.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU, Jr.

Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern, Sr.

Jalin Moore, RB, Appalachian State, Jr.

Rashaad Penny, RB/KR, San Diego State, Sr.

Mark Walton, RB, Miami (Fla.), Jr.

Wide Receivers/Special Teams/Lineman 

Daniel Carlson, PK, Auburn, Sr.

Quadree Henderson, WR/KR, Pittsburgh, Jr.

Billy Price, OL, Ohio State, Sr.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama, Jr.

James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State, Sr.

Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah, Jr.

Defense

Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama, Jr.

Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan, Soph.

Derwin James, DB, Florida State

Arden Key, LB, LSU, Sr.

Harold Landry, DE, Boston College, Sr.

Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson, Soph.

Tyquan Lewis, DL, Ohio State, Sr.

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston, Soph.

Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson, Jr.