WKU lands No. 1 recruiting class in Sun Belt for second straight year

WKU lands No. 1 recruiting class in Sun Belt for second straight year

Emily Patton

Head Coach Willie Taggart said WKU is ready for the “big time.”

And for Taggart, it all starts with the 2011 signing class that was rated No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference by Rivals.com for the second consecutive year, including 11 players that were rated three-star prospects.

“We’re trying to be the best,” Taggart said. “That’s all we talk about. We’re a big-time program. We’re going to do big-time things. We’re going to recruit big-time players.”

WKU signed 26 players from eight states and eight position groups.

The signing class also earned a No. 1 rating from Scout.com.

Allen Trieu, Midwest recruiting manager for Scout.com, said the class is not only impressive in the Sun Belt, but in the national scope as well.

“It’s great for them, having only been in Division I for a few years, to be able to sign a class like that,” Trieu said. “They’re the top class in the Sun Belt, but they’re ahead of a few schools in the MAC and the Mountain West, so I think for them to finish where they are nationally is a victory.”

For more on WKU’s big Signing Day, see Friday’s Herald.

Other notes:

— Taggart confirmed that former Florida safety Jonathan Dowling is with the Toppers, but will have to sit out a year as a transfer after losing a waiver appeal to the NCAA.

Dowling was rated the top safety prospect in the nation in 2010 by ESPN.com.

“I want him to be the best safety in the country,” Taggart said. “I want him to compete for that. But if he can help us on offense, we’re going to do it. We’ll think outside the box and put our best players on the field.”

— Taggart also said former Kentucky tight end Ryan Wallace and 2010 three-star prospect Cam Thomas are both with the WKU program.

Reports Wednesday suggested that Wallace will apply for a hardship waiver with the NCAA to become eligible immediately.

— When asked if any players on the 2010 roster had left the Toppers during the offseason, Taggart said there were a few.

But he wouldn’t give specific names, instead providing a tongue-in-cheek response.

“We had a couple guys. I forgot those kids already,” he said. “How about that? When I remember those guys, I’ll let you know.”

— Lastly, Taggart said he’s continuing to interview candidates for WKU’s open defensive coordinator position.

“That’s going to continue until I decide to make a decision,” he said. “I tell you what – it’s going to be someone good. We have this thing in WKU football — when we lose someone, we replace them with someone better, so we have to find someone good.”