One week from today, Western Kentucky football coach Bobby Petrino will sign his first class of recruits.
The former Arkansas and Louisville coach currently has 23 verbal commitments, eight scholarship players already enrolled and quarterback DaMarcus Smith – formerly ineligible – planning to suit up for the 2013 season for the first time.
Offensively, one quarterback is a WKU pledge, Todd Porter (6 feet 3 inches, 180 pounds) of O’Fallon High in Illinois. Wide receivers Jalen Edwards (5-11, 170, Avon, Ind.), Aaron Jackson (6-3, 190, Frankfort) and Nicholas Norris (5-10, 170, Miami) will come from the high school ranks, while Lonnie Turner (5-10, 175, Los Angeles Harbor Community College) is already enrolled and on campus.
The lone running back in the class is Dishan Romine (5-8, 180) of DuPont Manual High. He’ll join offensive linemen from the preps Brandon Ray (6-3, 270, Madison, Ala.), Jimmie Sims (6-5, 290, New Orleans), Justin Martinez (6-3, 265, St. Lucie, Fla.) and Kelvin McCoy (6-3, 290) from El Camino Junior College and tight end Shaquille Johnson (6-4, 215, Lake City, Fla.). Offensive linemen Johnny Delaney (6-6, 310, Ventura Community College), Kyle Jones (6-4, 290, Mulberry, Fla.) and Conner Popeck (6-4, 280, Itawamba College) have already enrolled.
On the defensive side of the ball, linemen Marcus Adams (6-0, 270, Atlanta), Ismael Aurismond (6-3, 230, Hialeah, Fla.), DaMarcus Glover (Pensacola, Fla.), Tanner Reeves (6-4, 230, Lakeland, Fla.) and Kalvin Robinson (6-5, 225, Vestavia Hills, Ala.) plan to join Marcus Bennett (6-3, 290) from East Mississippi Community College and Raphael Cox (6-3, 270) from Trinity Valley Community College, who are already enrolled at WKU.
Tuesday, Donald Rocker joined the class by giving his verbal commitment.
Rocker is a 6-4, 300-pound offensive lineman from Sandalwood High in Jacksonville, Fla., who is also the cousin of current WKU defensive end Gavin Rocker.
Donald Rocker is rated as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals.com. He has offers from Arizona, Florida International, Iowa State, Marshall, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State and Pittsburgh.
Linebacker Devante Duclos (6-0, 215, Miami) has enrolled, while fellow linebackers Isaac Tanner (6-1, 225, Tampa, Fla.) and Drew Davis (6-1, 210, Madison, Ala.) are committed.
The defensive backfield will add Juwan Gardner (6-1, 190, DuPont Manual), Leverick Johnson (6-1, 190, Miami), Kylen Towner (5-8, 165, Mobile) and Marcus Ward (6-3, 200, Vestavia Hills, Ala.) to current enrollee Dalton Patterson (6-3, 190, Arkansas Baptist College).
Kicker Joseph Occipinti (6-3, 190, Nashville) is also committed to WKU.
The Hilltoppers lost 19 seniors to graduation from the 2012 team.
The recruiting site Scout.com ranks the WKU class as tops in the Sun Belt Conference and 89th overall.