WKU Football returns for Spring game


Arthur H. Trickett-Wile

Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers quarterback Austin Reed (16) celebrates a touchdown with his teammates during their match against the Troy University Trojans Saturday evening, Oct. 1, 2022 on Jimmy Feix Field on the WKU campus in Bowling Green, Ky. Hilltoppers fell to the Trojans 34-27.

Camden Bush

WKU Football hosted its annual Spring Game April 22 at Houchens-Smith Stadium. 

The game featured an intrasquad scrimmage among the Hilltoppers players. The Hilltoppers split into two teams, the offense wearing red jerseys and defense wearing black jerseys. 

Graduate quarterback Austin Reed made his much-awaited return to the field for the Hilltoppers after a huge 2022 season.

Reed entered the transfer portal earlier in the off-season after receiving interest from many schools, but ultimately withdrew his name from the portal to play one more season for WKU. 

Reed looked sharp in his return to the field, throwing two touchdowns. He connected with two of his returning targets from the 2022 season for touchdowns.

Both senior Michael Mathison and redshirt-junior Dalvin Smith caught touchdowns from Reed. The two combined for 1,000 receiving yards last season.

Aside from Reed, redshirt sophomore Willie Taggart Jr, redshirt freshman Caden Veltkamp and redshirt freshman Trevor Helton got snaps at quarterback. All three quarterbacks performed well in their playing time. 

Each of the backup quarterbacks have prior connections to the program. Trevor Helton is head coach Tyson Helton’s nephew, Taggart Jr. is WKU football legend Willie Tagart’s son and Veltkamp is WKU’s Director of Football Strength and Conditioning Jason Veltkamp’s son. 

Aside from Mathison and Smith, wide receivers redshirt senior Blue Smith and redshirt freshman Jax Cooper each had touchdowns. Junior receiver Denzil Alleyne also hauled in two touchdowns from Veltkamp.

Despite the passing game ruling the contest, junior running back Elijah Young recorded a rushing touchdown for the Hilltoppers.

The Hilltoppers offense outplayed the defense for the majority of the game, but the defense came up with a few stops throughout the contest.

WKU football will begin the 2023 season September 2 at home against South Florida University. 

Sports reporter Camden Bush can be reached at [email protected].