FOOTBALL SIGNING DAY: Western nets ten prospects

Kyle Hightower

Ten high school seniors signed National Letters-of-Intent Wednesday with NCAA Division I-AA national champion Western Kentucky University, head coach Jack Harbaugh announced.

Eight signees are from Kentucky, including teammates from a pair of high schools.

The Hilltoppers inked a pair of quarterbacks, Ryan Joyner and Sam Sexton. Joyner, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound Louisville resident, was selected all district and all-county after helping lead St. Xavier High School to a 10-3 finish and the regional finals in the state playoffs. Sexton was voted honorable mention all-state and the District Player of the Year, helping Pulaski Southwestern High reach the playoffs. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of Ferguson threw for 1,049 yards and 13 touchdowns, adding 1,087 yards and 15 scores on the ground.

Defensive lineman Mark Foster started and lettered for three years at Pulaski Southwestern, posting 125 total tackles, 14 stops behind the line of scrimmage and eight sacks for the Warriors last season. A 6-foot-5, 260-pound resident of Somerset he was named third-team all-state as a senior. Ricky Watkins, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound linebacker from Louisville, posted 111 tackles last year for St. Xavier in earning first-team all-district and all-county honors, and honorable mention all-state recognition.

Evan Brewer, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker/defensive end from Bowling Green was the only Warren East High School player to earn first-team all-SKY conference accolades after recording 170 total tackles, including 15 for loss.

Tight end Ross Cassity, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound Versailles resident, has been selected honorable mention all-state each of the last two years at Woodford County High School. A four-year starter who also was named to the academic all-state team every season, his brother Kelby will be a fifth-year senior on the offensive line for Western next fall.

Brandon Huggins also has family ties to the Hill, as his father Nathan lettered from 1973-76, helping Western reach a pair of Division II national championship games. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive lineman from Hodgenville and Larue County High, was selected honorable mention all-state after helping the Hawks to a 12-1 finish and a berth in the regional finals.

Also signing were Ross Dickens, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive lineman from Pelham, Ala., High, Jared Holland, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound tight end from Franklin, Tenn., High School and WR/DB Robert Waller, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound resident from Henderson County High School.

The Hilltoppers finished atop the polls after defeating top-seeded McNeese State, 34-14, in the title game Dec. 20. Western was 12-3 overall and 6-1 in the Gateway Football Conference, winning a share of its first league crown in just the Toppers’ second season as a member.

— Kyle Hightower