BOWLING GREEN — Head coach Tyson Helton and the WKU football staff announced four new Hilltoppers signed to National Letters of Intent in the Class of 2020 on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
They were Malachi Corley of Campbellsville, Ky, JaQues Evans of Dublin, Ga, Quantavious Leslie of Rome, Ga and Kendrick Simpkins of Montgomery, Alabama.
“Had another big day in recruiting, signed four guys today, really fit a lot of good needs for us, a couple guys that we had been on for a while trying to pinpoint,” WKU coach Tyson Helton said in a press conference. “There were a couple – I think we had three guys – that are already here in school that we added during the Christmas break and the holidays right before class started that we didn’t get the chance to talk about. So, I guess you could say a total of seven new guys but, our class is up to 22 signed.”
Malachi Corley accumulated 698 receiving yards, 541 rushing yards, 21 total touchdowns and scored 136 of the Eagles’ 387 points.
He earned Third Team All-State honors from the Louisville Courier Journal in a statewide coaches poll and was named the Kentucky Class 1-A Player of the Year as well as the District 2 Player of the Year by the Kentucky Football Coaches Association.
He is currently averaging 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.4 steals for the Campbellsville basketball team.
Corley was rated as a three-star with an 81 overall composite score by 247Sports, ranking 20th in the state. He chose WKU over others such as Eastern Kentucky, Southeast Missouri State and Western Illinois.
JaQues Evans rushed for 2,531 yards on 262 carries (9.7 yards per rush) and scored 42 total touchdowns, leading the Irish to a Class 2A State Title, their first since 2006.
He was named Georgia Class 2A Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press and listed as a MaxPreps Small Schools Second Team All-American.
He also served as the punter and kickoff specialist for the Irish. He is currently averaging a team-high 14.1 points for the 20-4 Dublin basketball squad to go along with 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Evans was rated as a three-star with an 87 overall composite score by 247Sports, ranking 697th in the country among all players, 40th nationally among “athletes” and 70th in the state. He chose WKU over others such as Arizona State, Miami, Tennessee and USF.
Quantavious Leslie was named to the Georgia Class 5A First Team in 2019 by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the All-Region 7 Team in 2018.
Leslie was rated as a three-star with an 87 overall composite score by 247Sports, ranking 574th in the country among all players, 33rd nationally among offensive guards and 61st in the state.
He chose WKU over others such as Appalachian State, Florida, Liberty, Memphis, Michigan State, Mississippi State, NC State, Tennessee, Troy, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
Kendrick Simpkins earned Alabama Class 7A Second Team honors and played in the 33rd Annual Mississippi-Alabama Football Classic.
Simpkins was rated as a three-star with an 84 overall composite score by 247Sports, ranking 92nd nationally among safeties and 51st in the state.
He chose WKU over others such as Florida Atlantic, Akron, Alabama A&M, Central Michigan, Chattanooga, Colorado, Jackson State, Kansas, Massachusetts, Murray State, Nebraska, Tennessee, Toledo and Troy.
With those four, plus the 15 who inked NLI’s during the Early Signing Period on Dec. 18, plus three more (Dominique Bradshaw, Darius Ocean and Tennessee transfer Will Ignont) in-between, WKU has a 22-man Class of 2020 that includes 14 coming from high school and seven from junior colleges.
Of the 22 signees, 12 are already on campus, training with the team and enrolled at WKU for the spring semester. Eleven different home states are represented, including seven Georgians.
Eleven are offensive players and 11 are defensive players. Eight different position groups are represented, including five defensive backs and four offensive linemen.
“If you look at it, we signed a good receiver-athlete today, we signed a good defensive end, another good offensive lineman and a defensive back; I call him a DB but he’s a kid that can do a lot of different things,” Helton said. “So, with all four of those guys, we could kind of take our time and evaluate, get past the first signing period. Almost all these guys were guys that wanted to wait anyways – I think they were smart in planning it out – and I was glad we could get them in the end.”
Helton confirmed that a few spots on the WKU roster will remain open for graduate transfers and other flexible options.