WKU looks for RBs to replace Rainey

Jordan Wells

Expectations are high for WKU in 2012, as the team will return much of the core of a 7-5 2011 squad.

But Topper coaches will have to replace the team’s best offensive weapon and most recognizable player, running back Bobby Rainey.

Rainey was an All-American for WKU in 2011, setting new school marks for single-season rushing yards (1,695) and career rushing yards (4,542).

Head Coach Willie Taggart’s staff has hit the recruiting trail in search of potential replacements.

Jamie Gilmore, Anthony “Ace” Wales and Marion Grice have all visited WKU within the last week.

Gilmore, who is listed by Rivals.com as the No. 9 all-purpose back in the nation, said his visit “went great.”

“My favorite part was getting to know the coaches even better,” said Gilmore, a Rivals three-star prospect out of North Marion High School (Fla.) “They are very down-to-earth.”

Gilmore is still also considering Temple and South Florida, with his visit to Temple still to come this weekend.

Wales visited WKU this weekend after committing to Louisville the week before.

The former Louisville Central High School standout, ranked by Rivals as the No. 14 all-purpose running back in the Class of 2012, also holds offers from Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

The Toppers’ highest rated target is the No. 1 ranked junior college running back in the nation, Marion Grice.

Grice, a Rivals four-star prospect decommitted from Texas A&M this week and is being recruited hard by WKU, Arizona State and Houston.

Grice ran for 105.2 yards per game and 16 touchdowns last season for Blinn College (Texas).

“People thought I was still committed to Texas A&M, so I just want to make sure that it’s out there that I’m not looking at them any more,” Grice said in an interview with ASUsports.com.

Should Gilmore, Wales or Grice commit to WKU they’ll join Leon Allen (Manatee High School, Bradenton, Fla.) and Travis Elliot (Ryle High School, Union, Ky.), as running backs in the Toppers’ Class of 2012.

WKU adds two JUCO commits

 Junior college targets Brett Harrington and Calvin Washington both announced their verbal commitments to WKU this week.

Harrington, a 6-foot-1 cornerback from Alfred State Community College (N.Y.), told the Herald Tuesday night he was choosing WKU over Akron and Buffalo.

“I’m still hungry,” Harrington said. “Things are only going to get better from here.”

Washington, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end from Eastern Arizona Junior College, chose WKU over offers from Miami, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette and others.

WKU looks to host additional visitors this weekend, Jan. 27-29, before most targets make their college decision final on Wednesday during National Signing Day.