WEB_HeltonConference.jpg

WKU's new head coach Tyson Helton speaks during coach his press conference as the new head coach of the Hilltoppers at the Harbaugh Club in Houchens-Smith Stadium Nov. 27 in Bowling Green.

New head coach Tyson Helton bolstered his first signing class at WKU, adding four new players on National Signing Day, bringing the 2019 signing class up to 21 players, with the rest having already been on the roster since the early signing period in December. Helton also left spots open on for potential transfers.

“Recruiting is changing a little bit,” Helton said. “We’re entering the portal time and age where guys are transferring and those kind of things so always want to save a couple spots.”

Helton didn’t specify an area of need that those spots could be used for, but did say that he would like to go into the season with more than the three scholarship quarterbacks that the team currently carries.

As far as signees go, Helton shored up the depth in positions that he has identified as important for his brand of football.

At wide receiver that meant picking up Dayton Wade from Lovejoy High School in Lovejoy, Georgia. Wade went for 1,113 receiving yards last season, leading Georgia’s 6A division in the category and being named the Region 4 Offensive Player of the Year in the process.

“We love to throw the ball here,” Helton said. “We need some guys who can go get it and so I think with the addition of the receivers that we signed, five total, it’ll be really good for us.”

The Hilltopper offensive line also received a boost, adding Wes Dorsey, a 6-foot-6-inch, 265-pound lineman from Grace Christian Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“Big long tackle,” Helton said of Dorsey. “Has tremendous upside. Really looking forward to getting him here.”

On special teams, the Hilltoppers signed Cory Munson, a kicker from Northside High School in Warner Robins, Georgia. Munson kicked a 59-yard field goal his junior season, the longest kick in the state of Georgia that year.

“I think he’s a guy who’ll compete early,” Helton said. “He has a huge leg. You know, I watched him this past season, all the kicks he made… I think he’s a guy that comes in early and really does a good job competing and trying to win the job.”

Rounding out the class was a defensive signee, defensive end/linebacker Celestin Haba who led the nation in sacks at the junior college level with 17.5 last season at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona. He was a junior college All-American also named the Western States Football League Defensive Player of the Year.

“It’s an offensive-driven league,” Helton said. “You’ve got to be able to get to the quarterback and Celestin will do that for us. He does a great job rushing the passer. He’ll be a great addition to our other ends, I think we’ve have some pretty good guys in that area.”

247 Sports has ranked the Hilltoppers’ recruiting class 90th in the nation and ninth in Conference USA at this point.

Following the spring practice sessions, the WKU spring game will take place on April 13. Helton said earlier in the offseason that he would like to hold the spring game as a normal game to make it as good of a fan experience as possible.

A full list of the 21 signees in WKU's 2019 class is available below:

Manny Allen WR 6-3 185 Moreno Valley, Calif. Rancho Verde HS

Stephone Atkinson DL 6-2 220 Lake Minneola, Fla. Lake Minneola HS

Ricky Barber DL 6-3 270 Louisville, Ky. Doss HS

Marcus Bragg DL 6-6 275 North Miami, Fla. Arizona Western/Miami Jackson HS

Clayton Bush DB 6-1 200 Bowling Green, Ky. South Warren HS

Wes Dorsey OL 6-6 265 Knoxville, Tenn. Grace Christian Academy

Jeremiah Fails WR 6-0 180 Ocoee, Fla. Ocoee HS

Jordan Flack OL 6-5 300 Somerville, Ala. Brewer HS

Celestin Haba DL 6-3 235 Columbia, S.C. Scottsdale CC/Flora HS

John Haggerty P 6-5 230 Melbourne, Australia -

Desmond Johnson DB 6-0 180 Valdosta, Ga. Valdosta HS

Trae Meadows DB 6-1 180 Greensboro, N.C. Garden City CC/Dudley HS

Cory Munson K 6-4 180 Warner Robins, Ga. Northside HS

Garrett Nickelson* OL 6-4 290 League City, Texas Blinn JC/Clear Springs HS

Daylen Powell OL 6-5 280 Summerville, S.C. Summerville HS

Jack Randolph OL 6-3 295 Franklin, Ky. Franklin-Simpson HS

Josh Simon TE 6-5 230 Sumter, S.C. Crestwood HS

Dalvin Smith WR 6-3 180 Glasgow, Ky. Glasgow HS

Tyler Smith WR 6-0 175 Ellenwood, Ga. Salem HS

T.J. Springer DB 6-1 180 Nashville, Tenn. Maplewood HS

Dayton Wade WR 6-0 170 Lovejoy, Ga. Lovejoy HS

Sports Editor Matt Stahl can be reached at 270-745-6291 and matthew.stahl551@topper.wku.edu. Follow him on Twitter @mattstahl97.