Western Kentucky is addressing its linebacker needs with a pair of transfers.
Within hours of each other Friday evening, Malik Staples and Jaden Hunter announced via Twitter their intentions to join the Hilltoppers. Staples will transfer as a graduate from Louisville and Hunter joins WKU from Georgia.
Staples, a Suwanee, Ga., native, will have two years of eligibility. The Daily News learned that Hunter will apply for a waiver and if cleared, will have three years of eligibility. If the transfer waiver is denied, Hunter will have to sit out a season and begin two years of eligibility in 2020.
Hunter played in two games last season for the Bulldogs as a redshirt freshman. He signed with Georgia as a four-star recruit out of Westlake High School in Atlanta. Staples played in 20 games from 2016-17 and recorded nine total tackles for the Cardinals. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound graduated from Louisville this spring and will be immediately eligible for two seasons.
Their addition will add depth to a thin position that was depleted even more in the spring.
WKU took a hit to the position when Eli Brown suffered a foot injury during a spring scrimmage, and his timetable to return is still unknown.
That hurt a Hilltopper group already replacing two starters in Ben Holt and Masai Whyte. Holt is a graduate transfer headed to Purdue and Whyte was a senior last fall.
That left the injured Brown, a Warren East alum, as the only returning linebacker with significant playing time last year with 25 tackles in 11 games. FCS transfers Clay Davis (Tennessee Tech) and Damon Lowe (Eastern Kentucky) will contribute and Kyle Bailey is moving back to linebacker after playing safety.
WKU’s other linebackers are redshirt sophomore Rex Henderson and redshirt freshmen Trey Urquhart and Mario Wright.
– Follow sports reporter Elliott Pratt on Twitter @EPrattBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com