W Kentucky Arkansas Football

Western Kentucky quarterback Ty Storey (left) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown Saturday against Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.

Western Kentucky’s signature win at Arkansas couldn’t have come at a better time. On top of giving the Hilltoppers momentum going into a bye week with two games remaining, it boosts the team’s brand on the recruiting trail.

And bye weeks are crucial midseason opportunities for coaches to visit potential prospects. WKU coach Tyson Helton and his staff will have a bit more to sell when they walk into high schools this week.

“That’s why I’m really excited about the opportunity to go recruit this week because now you have the WKU brand that everybody nationally has heard about over the past three days,” Helton said at his Monday news conference.

WKU (6-4) became bowl eligible Saturday with its best game of the season on the road against a Southeastern Conference team. Although Arkansas (2-8) fired coach Chad Morris less than 24 hours after the Hilltoppers won 45-19 in Fayetteville Ark., the state of the Razorbacks’ program isn’t taking away from the WKU coaches’ pitch this week considering how they won the game.

The Hilltoppers were up 35-7 by halftime and held Arkansas to its fewest passing yards (87) since 2014. Removing two long touchdown runs of 86 and 76 yards by Rakeem Boyd, WKU held the Razorbacks to only 178 yards on 3.4 yards per play.

Adding to that was the aggressiveness of which WKU played early. Quarterback Ty Storey led WKU against his former team to convert 9-of-18 third-down attempts and a perfect 5-for-5 rate on fourth downs.

Storey also led WKU to its most points of the season with the win that was broadcast nationally on the SEC Network.

That all will matter to recruits and high school coaches this week when they meet with WKU’s staff.

“You’re able to go into a high school and see a high school coach and sit down and talk with him and you immediately get that name-brand recognition,” Helton said. “I think it will help us tremendously in recruiting this week. It couldn’t have happened at a better time, so we’ll definitely have to capitalize on that momentum right now.”

The Hilltoppers currently have 15 players committed to the Class of 2020. The early signing period is from Dec. 18-20 and National Signing Day is Feb. 5. WKU coaches have five players committed from Georgia, three from Florida and Kentucky, two from South Carolina and one from Alabama and North Carolina.

“We’ll be out Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” Helton said on recruiting. “It should be a good time for us to get out and make sure that we’re doing all the right things.”{&end}

– Follow WKU athletics beat writer Elliott Pratt on Twitter @EPrattBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.


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