Former Hilltoppers find success at next level

Jeremy Chisenhall

WKU’s football program is continuing to grow and be successful with some NFL talent coming from the Hill. Most of the Hilltoppers on NFL rosters are rookies, but a few veterans from WKU are leading successful careers. Here’s an update on how the best NFL Toppers are doing so far this year.

1. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts tight end

Doyle is in the middle of his best season in the league. He has 16 catches on 19 targets for 151 yards, which is more yardage than he’s put up in any of his past three seasons.

He also has a career-high in yards per catch, with an average of 9.4. On top of that Doyle has two touchdown catches, which ties his career-high from 2014. Doyle is on track to shatter his career bests this season.

2. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams tight end

By far the biggest star of the rookie Toppers, Higbee is getting a lot of in-game action. He’s played all five games this year, 117 snaps in total, and has been targeted six times with one catch for two yards.

Higbee is expected to keep getting playing time throughout the season, and may get some postseason time, as the Rams are currently 3-2, and 3-1 in their last four games.

3. Brandon Doughty, Miami Dolphins quarterback

Doughty was drafted by the Dolphins in the seventh round this year, and got a significant amount of playing time in the preseason.

In his four preseason games, he threw for 185 yards, and completed 71.4 percent of his passes. He didn’t have any touchdown passes, but also didn’t throw any interceptions.

Doughty was cut by the Dolphins after the preseason on Wednesday, Sept. 14. He was signed back to the practice squad on Friday, Sept. 16, and is still on the practice squad now.

Regardless of if Doughty is brought up to the active roster this year, it’s likely that he won’t get any playing time behind Miami’s franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

4. Bobby Rainey, New York Giants running back

Rainey is in his sixth season in the NFL, and is with his fourth team. He signed with the Giants on Monday, April 11.

Rainey is getting a much lighter workload than he did when he started with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as he has just nine carries for 44 yards this season.

While his workload is light, he’s averaging 4.9 yards-per-carry, which is one of the better averages in the league this year. If he continues to put up nearly five yards-per-carry, he’ll likely get more carries as the season goes on.

5. George Fant, Seattle Seahawks tight end

Fant was not selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, but signed with the Seahawks in free agency and fought to earn a roster spot.

Fant hasn’t had any receptions this season, but he has gotten some in-game action. He’s played two snaps this season, both coming against the San Francisco 49ers in week three. He has also been in on 11 plays on special teams.

Fant will likely get some postseason experience if he stays with the Seahawks, as they are currently one of the best teams in the NFC West with a 3-1 record.

Reporter Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.