WKU Football Position Preview: Quarterbacks

Former Hilltopper quarterback Brandon Doughty, looking for an open receiver to target during the 2015 Miami Beach Bowl against South Florida — USA Today
Over the next few days, The Towel Rack will examine Western Kentucky’s position groups and look into where each stands heading into the 2016 season. Today, we take a look at the quarterbacks.

Brandon Doughty is no longer leading Western Kentucky’s mighty offensive attack. The former quarterback who led the Hilltoppers to unprecedented heights throughout his three seasons as the starter has now has his sights set on making waves in the same city his college career came to an official end with the Miami Dolphins.

While the question has been on everyone’s mind for months now, it’s getting close to time for third-year head coach Jeff Brohm to choose another guy to guide his powerful, point-scoring unit.

Four WKU passers are fighting for the vacant spot on the depth chart — that number was five before redshirt senior Nelson Fishback tore a pectoral muscle during an individual workout earlier this summer. Fishback was predicted to be the favorite for the starting job heading into fall camp.

Now, it is believed, South Florida transfer Mike White will likely be the favorite to take the first snaps with the first team.

White, a graduate of the University School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., threw for 2,201 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior in 2013. After leading his high-school to the Florida Class 3A state title, the QB was named the Player of the Year.

A three-star prospect, White signed with the Bulls and former WKU head coach Willie Taggart. Midway through the 2013 season, he transitioned into a starter’s role and had some strong showings, despite losing all five of the games he started. In a loss at Houston, White completed 26–of-41 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns.

The following season, the quarterback played in 11 of 12 games as he went 122-of-242 for 1,639 yards.

After transferring to Western, White sat out the 2015 season due to NCAA transfer requirements. Listed as a 6–4, 215-pound redshirt junior, he competes with three other Hilltoppers for the starting job.

Drew Eckels, a redshirt sophomore, completed a 10-yard pass and rushed for four yards off of three total snaps before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury a season ago. Eckels threw for 2,027 yards and 27 TDs as a senior in 2013.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Eckels committed to WKU in May of 2014. The departure of former Hilltopper QB DeMarcus Smith left an open spot on the roster, and Eckels took it.

Tyler Ferguson has had quite a rollercoaster ride as a football player. The graduate of Ridgeview High School in Bakersfield, California has not seen much action in three years. Ferguson did post a 10–of-15, 155-yard, one-touchdown performance for Penn State in a 63–14 loss to Ohio State back on Oct. 26, 2013.

Ferguson’s college trek began at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, where he threw for 2,614 yards. At that time, he was considered a three-star quarterback and reportedly had scholarship offers from Louisville, Penn State, Houston, Akron, Florida Atlantic and Oregon State.

The last program Ferguson has been a part of was former WKU coach Bobby Petrino’s at Louisville. Ferguson, who never actually played for the Cardinals in 2015, was set to play for the Hilltoppers while the coach was there, but he followed Petrino when he departed for UofL.

Now, already having an undergraduate degree from WKU, Ferguson will use his final season of eligibility with Brohm and company.

Western’s lone true freshman is Steven Duncan. Duncan, a South Carolina native, threw for over 3,000 yards as the star passer at Ashley Ridge High School in Charleston.

Considered a two-star prospect, along with WKU, Duncan held scholarship offers from nearly 10 other programs.

Tyler’s Take

Mike White is the most experienced and most familiar with how the college game is played, and just because of that, I feel that he will be Brohm’s starting quarterback come Sept. 1.

With White being the starter, I think that Tyler Ferguson will be just behind him on the depth chart. Ferguson has a strong, consistent arm, and could be a starter if White doesn’t impress/gets injured, ect.

Following Ferguson, I say that Drew Eckels will take the No. 3 spot, leaving freshman Steven Duncan at the bottom of the list. Both Eckels and Duncan can really pass the ball, so they can both very well take over the reins one day.

How do you think the QB situation will play itself out? In what order do you think the QB hopefuls will find themselves on the depth chart? Let us know in a comment below or on twitter @TheTowelRackWKU.

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