Bobby Petrino named nation’s top hire in 2013 by Athlon Sports

Bobby Petrino meets with Hilltopper fans and students after being announced as the new football coach at Smith Stadium on Dec. 10.

Elliott Pratt

WKU football is making national headlines through preseason awards and rankings.

Head coach Bobby Petrino has been listed as the nation’s top college football hire for 2013 in the Athlon Sports’ College Football Preview. Petrino’s career winning percentage ranks 11th in the country among active coaches.

Athlon Sports also ranks the Hilltoppers at third in the Sun Belt Conference preseason rankings behind Louisiana-Lafayette and UL-Monroe.

Athlon Sports named four WKU players on the Preaseason All-Sun Belt Conference team with running back Antonio Andrews, linebacker Andrew Jackson, safety Jonathan Dowling, and cornerback Tyree Robinson selected to the first team. Second team all-conference selections consist of tight end Mitchell Henry, center Sean Conway, and offensive lineman Cameron Clemmons.

More preseason accolades aim in the direction of a Andrews and Jackson coming from Beyond Sports Network with Preseason All-American selections.

Jackson, picked as a second team All-American from Beyond Sports Network, was also recently named on the College Football Performance Awards trophy watch list.  Jackson’s 122 tackles led the Hilltoppers last season. His 17.5 tackles for loss was second on the team behind Quanterus Smith’s 18.5.

Andrews is an honorable mention selection by the publication. The running back’s 3,161 all-purpose yards are the most in WKU school history and ranks second-highest in college football history behind 1988 Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State. Andrews also eclipsed Bobby Rainey’s (2010-11) single season rushing record to lead the Sun Belt with 1,728 yards.

The preseason selection marks the second of 2013 for Andrews, who was named a third-team All-American by The Sporting News as an all-purpose back.