Taggart impressed with WKU quarterback Jakes’ progression

Junior quarterback Kawaun Jakes, starter of WKU’s 12 games last year, is poised to fill that role again this season.

Cole Claybourn

If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that junior quarterback Kawaun Jakes will be WKU’s starting quarterback this season.

While back-up quarterbacks redshirt freshman Brandon Doughty and freshmen James Mauro and Dyron Speight continue to impress Willie Taggart, the second-year coach said it’s still Jakes’ job to lose three days into the Toppers’ fall camp.

“He’s more confident now,” Taggart said of Jakes. “He knows the offense better and he’s playing faster. Those other guys are still learning. They’re all doing good things, but they don’t know the offense like Kawaun knows the offense.

“That’s why he’s light years ahead of them. He can play with a lot more confidence.”

Taggart said Jakes doesn’t have to ask Taggart about certain situations now. He simply knows what to do.

He’s even been wearing a camera on top of his helmet during fall camp to help him review defenses.

Jakes started all 12 of WKU’s games last season at quarterback, completing 149 out of 291 passes for 1,680 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He was named the MVP of the spring game, and Taggart said he’ll be looking for even more out of Jakes this season. 

He said he expects to see the Jakes become more of a “weapon” this season, but most of all he’s looking for leadership from his quarterback and has already started to see that.

“He’s starting to do the things it takes to be a Division I quarterback,” Taggart said during Sun Belt Conference media day in July. “For me, that’s not just the physical tools, it’s the things off the field.

“I just feel like that position is like the head coach on the football team. He’s starting to take more of that leadership role and holding guys accountable, which we needed from Kawaun last year.”