The NFL Draft was once again kind to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. WKU had two of their former players selected in the draft itself with two more getting chances offered to them after the fact.
While people like Iggy and Mike White going pro is certainly a big loss for the Tops, it’s a nice gain for a few NFL teams. Hopefully, it works out well for all of them.
Joel Iyiegbuniwe - Chicago Bears - Round 4, Pick 115
The local South Warren product is off to the Windy City. “Iggy” led the team in tackles in 2017 with 117 and 11.5 for a loss. He also had 15 tackles in two different games in 2017. 15 tackles is the second-highest game total in WKU’s FBS history, for those curious.
Here’s another bit of trivia for you: the only other WKU player to be drafted by the Bears was cornerback Virgil Livers back in 1975. Livers had his jersey retired by WKU back in 2001 and is still an assistant principal at Bowling Green High School.
It’s safe to say that Iggy will most likely see time on special teams right away with some time at inside linebacker possible as a reserve. It’s a situation that seems like it fits both parties well.
Mike White - Dallas Cowboys - Round 5, Pick 171
One of the all-timers at the quarterback position for WKU, Mike White ended up going right around where most people thought he would in terms of the draft order. That being said, the Cowboys are a little bit of a head-scratcher. They have their franchise guy with Dak Prescott and he’s only 24. But who knows? Maybe White gets to develop a bit and get his chance, in Dallas or elsewhere in a few years.
Per WKU Stats & Info, White becomes Western’s 7th draft selection in the last three years. WKU ties with Western Michigan for the most draft selections in that time frame.
Deon Yelder - New Orleans Saints - UDFA
Yelder walked on at WKU but earned himself a scholarship just prior to his senior season. Yelder proved to be one of White’s more reliable targets in 2017 with 52 catches for 688 yards and seven receiving touchdowns, plus one rushing touchdown. New Orleans has a ton of tight ends on the roster right now, but there are injury concerns with a lot of them.
This could end up being a decent situation for Yelder to earn his spot.
It’s also worth noting that Yelder is the latest in a seemingly long line of WKU tight ends to get legitimate shots at a pro career.
Cameron Echols-Luper - Indianapolis Colts - Minicamp Invite
The former Tops’ wideout spent last season in BG as a graduate transfer after spending two seasons with Arkansas State and two with TCU. He’ll get a shot with the Colts at their upcoming minicamp. The Colts also have former WKU tight end Jack Doyle on their current roster. Echols-Luper totaled 81 catches for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns in his college career.
Congrats to the newest #ProTops!