Toppers recruit another quarterback to compete for starting job

Lucas Aulbach

Through thick and thin, Kawaun Jakes served as starting quarterback for the past three seasons and was a big part of WKU’s run to its first FBS bowl game this season.

With Jakes, a senior who has played his last game for WKU, out of the mix, there is currently a gaping hole at quarterback in the Topper depth chart.

WKU had three quarterbacks on its roster who were expected to compete for the starting job – freshmen James Mauro and Damarcus Smith and sophomore Brandon Doughty.

Topper fans can add a fourth name to that list. The only quarterback WKU signed Wednesday was Todd Porter of O’Fallon Township High School in O’Fallon, Ill.

Porter, who threw for 3,009 yards and 22 touchdowns last year, was praised for his athleticism by O’Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst.

“He’s got a try athletic arm and is very mobile,” Joggerst said. “He throws very good off the run and is certainly a dual-threat kid. He definitely has the ability to make all the throws.”

Porter’s strong high school numbers impressed WKU coach Bobby Petrino, who said Porter was his No. 1 choice when the coaching staff was looking at quarterbacks to recruit.

Petrino said the most impressive thing about Porter was his experience – he was the starting quarterback at O’Fallon over the past three years.

“When you start as a sophomore in high school and play with older guys it gets you used to the competition and the pressure,” Petrino said. “We really felt like that was a big deal in the decision we made to take him. I think he is going to be a great player for us.”

Offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm was also pleased with the pickup.

Brohm, a former quarterback at Louisville and in the NFL, said the WKU coaching staff knew they were only going to offer a scholarship to one passer and spent a lot of time evaluating potential quarterbacks before extending the offer to Porter.

“We think we found our guy,” Brohm said. “He’s very relaxed and poised in the pocket, he’s a natural thrower, he’s got big hands, he’s got athleticism. He can do a lot of things – he’s a very good student, he loves the game of football, and he puts in the time.”

Smart money might say the starting job for the 2013-14 campaign will go to a returning player, but Joggerst said Topper fans shouldn’t count out the new kid just yet.

“He’s got a very high football IQ and I think that’s his thought process going in there, to get in there and compete and go in with the thought process that the job is up for grabs,” he said. “I definitely think he can go in there and validate himself.”