WKU welcomed 15 new members to the Hilltopper Football program on Wednesday during the NCAA’s new early signing period as future Hilltoppers signed their national letters of intent.
“It was an early Christmas for the Hilltoppers,” said head coach Mike Sanford, a noted fan of the new, earlier signing period. “We got some great clarity that we didn’t usually have in years past at this time of the year. We’re very excited about this group of players. The thing I’m most excited about is that we addressed some needs.”
Sanford publicly announced 13 signees throughout the day and received two other NLIs, but due to those signees’ plans to celebrate the occasion with a ceremony, the program is respecting their decision to announce at a later date.
“I think that this class is going to be a historic class for Western Kentucky, to say the least,” Sanford added. “The recruiting services are what they are, but I do think with the 15 players we signed today, this is probably one of the deepest classes in terms of upper-echelon talent that this program has had and we’ll continue to recruit the best.”
One of those recruiting services, 247Sports, currently has 11 of the 15 signed Hilltoppers rated as three-star prospects marking the first time in program history that WKU has inked double-digit three-star prospects in a single class. Including last year’s group of nine three-stars, which Sanford and company had just over a month to assemble, the 20 three-star signees would be just nine fewer than the previous six classes combined with room to add more in the coming weeks.
The signing period runs through Friday, Dec. 22, and then opens up again during the traditional signing block in February – a date which the Hilltopper coaching staff will continue to work feverishly on to fill out what is currently rated as Conference USA’s top signing class.
“The part of it that’s unique is we still have commitments who …will end up signing Feb. 7 who have remained committed even though this Dec. 20 period is a bit of a put-up-or-shut-up type of period,” Sanford said. “There are certain players who just got done with their playoffs and they’re not quite ready to sign the dotted line. So we’re going to continue to foster relationships with players, and we do have several committed players at critical positions that we’re going to go down to Feb. 7 and keep battling, fighting, scratching and clawing to make sure we get them.”
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Associate Athletic Director, Athletic Communications/Media Relations