New-look Toppers boast new faces at some positions

Lucas Aulbach

The coaches aren’t the only new faces taking the field for WKU this Saturday. Several position groups are experiencing turnover from last season, while others still have veterans at the top of the depth chart.

Quarterbacks — Junior Brandon Doughty earned the starting job after a strong showing at Spring and Fall Camps. He will be backed up by redshirt freshman Damarcus Smith, with sophomore Nelson Fishback and fresh- man Todd Porter waiting in the wing.

Running backs — Senior Antonio Andrews, fresh off of his record-setting 2012 campaign, looks to be the No. 1 back for the Toppers, though senior Keshawn Simpson, sophomore Leon Allen, and redshirt freshman Anthony Wales could log some carries as well. The Toppers also have seniors Kadeem Jones and Nick Baisch as well as junior Demetrius Coley at fullback.

Wide receivers — Junior Willie McNeal led the Topper receivers last year and should play a big role in the offense this year. Freshman Taywan Taylor has also earned praise in camp, while senior Jamarielle Brown, junior Joel German, and freshman Nicholas Norris should also see the field.

Tight ends — Junior Mitchell Henry has replaced former Topper Jack Doyle, now competing for a spot with the Tennessee Titans, at the top of the depth chart.

Offensive line — Senior Sean Conway will be back at center, flanked on either side by senior Luis Polanco and redshirt freshman Forrest Lamp. Junior Cam Clemmons and senior Ed Hazelett will get the start at tackle against Kentucky.

Defensive line — Senior Bar’ee Boyd and redshirt sophomore Gavin Rocker will line up at defensive end. The tackles will be shored up by redshirt freshman Devante Terrell and redshirt sophomore Bryan Shorter as this group tries to replace four starters from 2012.

Linebackers — Senior Andrew Jackson should be the heart and soul of the Topper defense in the middle, with senior outside linebackers Chuck Franks and Xavius Boyd on either side of him.

Cornerbacks — Junior Cam Thomas and senior Tyree Robinson will get the start against Kentucky, with former junior wide receiver Rico Brown and redshirt sophomore Prince Charles Iworah backing them up.

Safeties — Junior Jonathan Dowling, who hauled in six interceptions last season, will be the man most opponents focus on, but he’ll share the field with senior Arius Wright, junior Ricardo Singh, and senior Kiante Young, who will not play Saturday due to an injury.

Kicking — Freshman Joseph Occhipinti and sophomore Garrett Schwettman have competed for the starting kicker spot this fall. Senior Hendrix Brakefield will be back to handle punts.

Returns — Senior Antonio Andrews returned nearly every kickoff and punt for the Toppers last season and should be back at it this year.