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Kentucky Wesleyan Football on Verge of a Great Season

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In the past, Kentucky Wesleyan Football was not known for their stock of talent on the football field, but as time has passed, there has been a major change for the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers football program.

It all started two years ago when head coach Brent Holsclaw created the mission Operation Turn Around, where he went out and recruited some of the best players who did not receive any big time Division I offers. In the past, the team was on a bad series of losing streaks, but once Operation Turn Around, the team started to roll in wins with a 7-4 record for that season, tying the most wins in school history.

The following year, the team fell to 5-6; however, the team faced better opponents trying to reach the playoffs. They lost some hard fought, last-second games, falling to teams like Davidson, a D1 team,  in a 14-7 loss in overtime. This season, Davidson comes to Owensboro. This will be the first time a D1 team has come into the city of Owensboro to play at Steele Stadium. This is great for the football venue and huge for the Kentucky Wesleyan football program. This is a chance to make history and gain more fan support through the seasons to come by defeating a Division I team on our home field.

This past summer has been a huge one for the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers recruitment. There will be some new faces making plays for the Kentucky Wesleyan football this year. The big question going into the offseason training was who was going to replace quarterback Dalton Oliver. Oliver ended an impressive career at Wesleyan as the leading passer with 3,108 yards, who threw 31 touchdowns, who threw a single record 510 yards along with five touchdowns versus North Carolina Pembroke, and who completed a single record 43 passes on 53 attempts in total offense with 2,994 yards for a 299.4 average per game. The answer to that of who can replace Oliver is Demarcus Smith, a veteran when it comes to college football, a senior on the field who comes with lots of experience. Coming out of high school, ESPN.com and Scout.com both listed Smith as a three-star prospect with Scout ranking him as the No. 20 quarterback in the country. In three seasons as Seneca’s signal caller, Smith threw nearly 8,000 yards and 75 touchdowns. The Panther’s fans have a lot to be excited about this upcoming season.

Keelan Cole, a familiar name around Kentucky Wesleyan College, will also help  Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers reach new heights. Cole has the NFL scouts raving around Steele Stadium, and with the weapons he has beside him, there will be plenty of opportunities for other Panthers to get looks from the scouts as well. Cole was named Associated Press’ Little College All-American third team, was chosen first team All-American by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette, was selected to Gazette’s All-Super Region Four first team, received the WESPY’s Athlete of the Year Award, and was chosen Kentucky Wesleyan College Player of the Year. Cole is arguably one of the best athletes to walk Kentucky Wesleyan Campus and will be putting on his finale at Steele Stadium this season before he his name is called for the NFL draft.

On the other side of Keelan Cole will be a transfer from Duke University by the name of Johnell Barns. He comes in a veteran of college football and ready to make a statement this season. Barnes, 6-foot, 170-pounds, is from Dunbar High School in Lehigh Acres, Florida. He started eight of 10 games this season for the Blue Devils, where he was third in pass receptions with 34 and fourth in receiving yards with 411 for 12.1 yards per catch.

Along with those two great receivers, there is a third weapon that the Panthers have who goes by the name of Trevion Tucker. Last season, Tucker was third leading receiver with 36 catches and 513 yards for five touchdowns. Averaging 14.2 per catch, his longest reception was 76. He also had one game of 100+ receiving yards and was the third in all-purpose yards with 513, playing all 10 games with two starts. With weapons like that on the offensive end for the Panthers, it should be a fun show for Panther fans to watch.

On defense, the Panthers add a big frame at the defensive line with Tim Patterson out of Central High School. Standing at 6’ 4,” 265 pounds, the big guy is no new face to college football either. Coming out of high school, Patterson signed to play football at the University of Kentucky. Patterson was named the top prospect in Kentucky’s 2010 class by Rivals.com and SuperPrep. He was named first-team all-state as a senior by The Associated Press and Louisville Courier-Journal. He was also named by the Lexington Herald-Leader “Class of the Commonwealth” listing of the top seniors in the state. He made 92 tackles his senior year. Patterson was named the top prospect in Kentucky by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who wrote, “This guy can really deliver a blow, always seems to be in the right position at the right time, takes great angles to the ball, and once he gets there, look out.” He helped lead Central High School to consecutive state championships his sophomore and junior seasons.

With veteran players like this coming in to lead the younger guys on the team in the right direction, this program could reach heights they never could have imagined. The big question is no longer, “Do the Panthers have talent?” but instead, “Can the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers come together as one and win a national championship?”untitled

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The student news site of Kentucky Wesleyan College
Kentucky Wesleyan Football on Verge of a Great Season