Disappointing 2017 record aside, Western Kentucky has had great fortune with quarterbacks lately with Brandon Doughty and Mike White. But with both gone to the NFL now, head coach Mike Sanford needs another fantastic QB to help the Tops get back in shape in year two of his coaching tenure.
WKU will have five quarterbacks on the roster heading into fall camp. Obviously, only one can be the starter under center. It will most likely change at least a couple times especially during the initial non-conference stretch of their schedule. But that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate who’s the best man for the job!
Here’s a bit about each of Sanford’s options.
The most experienced one in the quarterback room this year, Eckels will enter the 2018 season with time in 17 games under his belt while being 15 of 24 on pass attempts. He threw two touchdowns and one interception in his time backing up Mike White with 214 yards through the air plus another 17 on the ground. The redshirt senior will mostly start week one against Wisconsin because of his experience. Time will tell if he can keep that spot.
Duncan redshirted his freshman year in 2016 and saw time in just one game in 2017, completing two passes for two yards in the Tops’ blowout win over Charlotte. This spring, he was looking to be in contention for the starting job, though a DUI arrest in April has hurt his chances. We definitely know he won’t be a part of that week one game, as Sanford has decided to suspend him for that week as a disciplinary measure.
Coming up on Sports4- We catch up with Ashley Ridge HS grad Steven Duncan- on his first camp at Western Kentucky. pic.twitter.com/7M6b2McDWp— Scott Eisberg (@SEisbergWCIV) August 10, 2016
After he redshirted in 2017, 2018 will be the first real chance for most of us to see Shanley in action. He could run and throw well in high school, racking up 4,017 passing yards on 277 of 460 attempts with 39 touchdown passes and 1,094 rushing yards with 15 rushing TDs in two years. That balance could serve him well moving forward and allowed him to impress in WKU’s spring game this year.
The redshirt junior hasn’t had much of a college football career to date. He played at Davidson for a year in 2015 but saw action in just one game. The Minnesota native had a productive high school career though. Check out his high school highlights below.
I’m personally making the prediction now that Thomas will rise through the quarterback room quickly. At Lakeland High School in Florida, Thomas has proved to be a more than effective dual-threat quarterback. Not only that, he’s got a big durable frame. If the offensive line even kind of looks like what it looks like last year, the Tops are going to need a quarterback who can make plays on his own and be able to take hits.