BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Coming off a conference championship, Top 25 season in 2015, the WKU Hilltoppers have been picked to finish second in Conference USA’s East Division in the league’s media poll released Thursday, July 21.
Middle Tennessee was picked to win the division while last year’s West Division champion, Southern Miss, was picked to repeat.
WKU returns seven starters on offense, including all five starting offensive linemen – headlined by All-American candidate Forrest Lamp (pictured) at left tackle – and national watch list members Taywan Taylor and Anthony Wales at wide receiver and running back, respectively. However, WKU has to replace All-American Brandon Doughty at quarterback and fourth round draft pick Tyler Higbee at tight end along with a pair of starting receivers now on NFL rosters, Jared Dangerfield (New Orleans) and Antwane Grant (Cincinnati).
Defensively, the Hilltoppers return just four starters but feature a bevy of returning young talent with ample game experience. WKU bolstered its defense in the offseason by way of transfers in defensive end Nick Dawson-Brents and linebacker Keith Brown, both previously at Louisville. Starting safeties Marcus Ward and Branden Leston return, along with linebacker T.J. McCollum, last season’s leading tackler, and defensive end Derik Overstreet.
C-USA MEDIA MEMBERS PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Middle Tennessee
4. Florida Atlantic
6. Old Dominion
1. Southern Miss
2. Louisiana Tech
6. North Texas
WKU Athletics Photo