WKU unveils expansive 2013 signing class

WKU Football Head Coach Bobby Petrino speaks at a press conference in the media room of Diddle Arena on Wednesday.

Lucas Aulbach

The WKU football coaching staff underwent a total overhaul in December and January which ended with an entirely new group of coaches at the helm of the program.

On Feb. 6, they introduced their first signing class, the end result of a late, high-speed scramble for recruits in the wake of the coaching changes.

For all of the confusion that surrounded the program for the past couple of months, coach Bobby Petrino said at Wednesday’s National Signing Day press conference that the day was almost completely stress-free.

“It was kind of uneventful,” the new coach said. “Sometimes on Signing Day you are wheeling and dealing, faxing scholarships and losing guys, but basically today was a bit uneventful, though yesterday there were a few things that transpired that were fun.”

The class is big in numbers and in significance for the program. WKU signed 33 players Wednesday – 20 more than the 13 that made up former coach Willie Taggart’s final class in 2012.

The coaching staff hit three position groups hard on the recruiting trail – offensive line, defensive line, and wide receiver.

WKU signed eight offensive linemen, the most of any position group.

The Toppers picked up six defensive linemen, a position which WKU will return no starters from last season.

The school also brought in six recruits at wide receiver, one of he most important parts of Petrino’s past offenses.

Petrino said receiver was one skill position on offense he felt he needed to hit hard.

“It was important that we did a great job at receiver, mainly because of the transitions, the different offensive styles, the number of quality running backs that were already on scholarships and the number of quality tight ends that were already on scholarships,” he said.

WKU filled up the 2013 class with six defensive backs, four linebackers, a tight end, a kicker, and a quarterback.

The additions on the lines might be most critical for WKU, which will lose 11 offensive and defensive linemen from last season.

The pickup of eight offensive linemen is a big step for the Toppers, but offensive line coach Mike Summers said it may be a while before any of the new recruits make an impact in a game.

“They’re going to be playing against 22-year old grown men, so they need some weight room work and development,” Summers said. “But all of them are guys that show great potential, good prospects, and guys I’m excited about working with.”

The turnover on the defensive line also required WKU to spend some time recruiting the position.

The Toppers picked up four d-line recruits to counter losing seven defensive linemen from last season.

Two of those recruits are junior college transfers who have already joined the team, which defensive coordinator Nick Holt said could help shore up a line that needs experience.

“I think it’s really good that we got two mid-year defensive linemen so they can practice with us now this spring and they can lift weights and be around our strength coaches, so they’ll really improve,” Holt said. “I think they’ll both help us play this year.”

Those two linemen join six other recruits – a total of two defensive linemen, three offensive linemen, a line back, a wide receiver, and a defensive back – that enrolled early and have already joined the team in practice.

Those eight players had the pleasure of joining Petrino and the Toppers for workouts and drills in Smith Stadium at 5:50 a.m. Wednesday. The first spring practice of 2013 will take place in March.