Kittley, Smith nominated for prestigious honors, Zappe accepts invite to Reese’s Senior Bowl

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Alexandra Hendricks

WKU redshirt freshman wide receiver Dalvin Smith (17) evades UTSA redshirt sophomore cornerback Ken Robinson (21) during WKU’s game at Houchens-Smith Stadium on Oct. 9, 2021. UTSA won 52-46.

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

WKU Football has received a massive amount of national attention this week due to the tenacity, skill and knowledge of its personnel.

Offensive coordinator Zach Kittley, in his first season on the Hill following his move from Houston Baptist University, was named as one of 59 nominees for the 2021 Broyles Award on Monday. The honor is given to the best assistant coach in FBS competition.

Kittley is one of just 19 offensive coordinators on the list and has earned his place due to his complete revamp of WKU’s offensive attack. The anemic offense of 2020 has been replaced by a scheme that has put up the fourth-most total yards in the nation (5,216) so far in 2021.

Another crucial cog to WKU’s passing attack, Bailey Zappe, accepted an invite to the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl on Monday. The game showcases the best potential talent in NCAA football to give fans and NFL scouts a glimpse of the potential 2022 draft class.

Zappe will enter South Alabama’s Hancock Whitney Stadium to show off his arm on Feb. 5, 2022.

Redshirt freshman wideout Dalvin Smith was named as one of 30 nominees for the 2021 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award, a testament to his successful recovery from a season-ending leg injury he sustained against Chattanooga on Oct. 24, 2020.

Smith’s 2021 has been a monumental success. He was cleared for full participation on March 1 and transitioned from tight end to wide receiver before the season began. He has made seven appearances in the red and white this fall and has made the most of his opportunities – the Glasgow, Kentucky, native has hauled in six receptions for 74 yards and four touchdowns.

Three of the 30 nominees will be chosen as winners during the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on January 1, 2022.

WKU’s trio of decorated figures will take to the field on Saturday, Nov. 20 for a senior day matchup against FAU. It is the final home game of WKU’s fall and the Hilltoppers’ penultimate matchup before the postseason. 

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.