With 2017 being the first year of the early signing period in college football, Western Illinois took full advantage, adding thirteen new recruits to the program.
The new regulation allows recruits to sign national letters of intent between December 20-22, as opposed to waiting until National Signing Day on February 7 to do so. WIU Head Football Coach Charlie Fisher announced the official signings of the following players yesterday:
QB Trey McJunkin, 6'1", 195, Fresno City Community College (Calif.)
TE Sam Bakalow, 6'5", 230, Forreston High School (Ill.)
WR Victor Akinyemi, 6'2", 212, Marian Catholic High School (Ill.)
WR John Brunner, 6'3", 195, Butler Community College (Kan.)
OL Kelton Edwards, 6'2", 305, Northeast Mississippi Community College (Miss.)
OL T.J. Kennedy, 6'6", 330, Lee's Summit High School (Mo.)
OL Brandon Malkow, 6'5", 295, Beloit Turner High School (Wis.)
DE Tristan Pfeiffer, 6'4", 235, Grain Valley High School (Mo.)
LB Jack Anderson, 6'3", 225, Academy of Holy Angels (Minn.)
LB Herschel Blankenship, 6'1", 215, Plainfield High School (Ind.)
LB Hunter Mason, 6'3", 210, Nevada High School (Mo.)
LB Cole Tandy, 6'3", 215, University High School (Ill.)
CB De'Shon Gavin, 5'11", 180, Providence Catholic (Ill.)
With WIU losing four senior offensive linemen, a clear emphasis was placed up front. Additionally, the focus on linebacker was not a surprise, given the loss of All-American linebacker Brett Taylor and other impactful seniors from the 2017 linebacking group.
With thirteen players signed on, Fisher and his staff will look ahead to February with many more spots still to fill on a team that will lose twenty seniors from this year's team.