Player News

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Syracuse redshirt senior CB Juwan Dowels transferred to Western Michigan as a graduate.

Following a freshman redshirt his first year on campus, Dowels went on to appear in 24 total games for the Orange. He looked to be coming into his following a 2015 season in which he posted 40 tackles, an interception and five passes defended, but was largely undone by a knee injury in 2016 and came out to more modest effect last year. As a graduate transfer, he'll be eligible to play immediately at Western Michigan once the upcoming campaign kicks into gear.
May 10 - 3:49 PM

Buccaneers signed Western Michigan RB Donnie Ernsberger.

Ernsberger (6’3/241) played fullback, special teams, and tight end for the Broncos, logging just one career carry but a 45/528/11.7/5 receiving line and earning second-team All-MAC as a senior. Ernsberger ran 4.78 at the Combine with 32nd-percentile SPARQ results. A jack of all trades but master of none, Ernsberger should compete for special teams snaps right away and offers enough versatility to eventually carve out a minor offensive role, likely as a situational lead blocker and checkdown option.
May 3 - 5:37 PM

Steelers signed Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin.

Franklin (6’0/239) graduated at the Broncos’ all-time leader in rushing yards (4,867) and all-purpose TDs (56), averaging 5.2 career yards per carry with 61 receptions. Franklin’s had a high college fumble rate and showed sub-par athleticism at the Combine, managing 13th-percentile SPARQ results with 4.63 speed and a 9-foot-1 broad jump. Lacking explosive burst and not particularly physical despite his size, Williams is a long shot for an extended NFL career.
May 3 - 11:53 AM

Western Michigan senior CB Sam Beal considered declaring early for the 2018 NFL draft.

Beal (6'1/185) was a second-team All-Mid-American Conference selection in 2017 and said he gave declaring for the NFL "some thought." He ultimately decided to stay for another year to finish up his education. With a track background and someone who can play press coverage, WMU cornerbacks coach Nick Sanchez believes he is "what the NFL is looking for." If Beal has another solid year of play at Western Michigan as a senior he should be in good shape to be selected in the 2019 NFL draft.
Apr 30 - 2:23 PM

Bengals selected Western Michigan CB Darius Phillips with the No. 170 overall pick in the NFL draft.

Phillips (5’10/193) converted from wideout to cornerback as a sophomore and went on to become a three-year starter, earning first-team All-MAC in each of his final two seasons and tying a Division-I record for most career pick sixes (5), part of Phillips’ 12 career INTs. Also prolific in the return game, Phillips scored five career kickoff return TDs and one TD on a punt. Phillips managed a 4.54 forty in Indy but improved to 4.4-flat at Western Michigan’s Pro Day. Phillips is an undersized slot corner prospect with immediate return value.
Apr 28 - 3:27 PM

Steelers selected Western Michigan OT Chukwuma Okorafor with the No. 92 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

Okorafor (6’6/320) grew up in Africa and didn’t play offensive line until his junior year in high school, then became a 39-game starter for Western Michigan, flipping from right to left tackle as a junior and earning first-team All-MAC in both of his final two years. Okorafor looks the part with a massive build, but his tape reveals a prospect in need of technical work. Okorafor also tested out as a lowly ninth-percentile SPARQ athlete in Indy. Not yet 21 years old, Okorafor is a probable multi-year project.
Apr 27 - 10:36 PM

An anonymous scout told Bob McGinn Football that Western Michigan OL Chukwuma Okorafor "looks like Tarzan."

He looks like Tarzan," said the scout. "Good athlete. Just not real aware. Mental is a real concern. Played pretty good against the good competition. Against the lower level he didn’t play quite as well. Disinterested at times. He’s just not nasty and struggles to learn." Okorafor mostly played left tackle for the Broncos, but most project him to move inside to guard at the highest level. A team that believes he can be a bookend could take him in the first 64 picks. At guard, he likely goes in the third-to-fourth.
Apr 26 - 6:56 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein notes that while Western Michigan H-back Donnie Ernsberger is more than willing to engage as a blocker, he is "very inconsistent with his technique."

"Ernsberger could offer special teams value, but he plays a position that may not have many openings so he'll need to find something in his game to stand out in order to become an NFL player," Zierlein writes. At the NFL Scouting Combine, the 6-foot-3, 255-pounder posted a composite testing score landing him in the 31st percentile of NFL running backs. Granted, that's putting his scores up against all backs, not just those who found roles as fullbacks or H-backs at the pro level. Ernsberger is a probable UDFA candidate for next week unless he's able to sneak into the seventh round.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 20 - 4:33 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Chukwuma "Chuks" Okorafor to Tampa Bay Buccaneers T Donovan Smith.

Okorafor was listed as the most underrated tackle by Luke Easterling of Draft Wire, and Zierlein sees strengths in the former Western Michigan tackle as well. He notes his "tremendous" size (6'6/330) and ability to clog lanes, and he shows good quickness coming out of his stance. He will need to show more "bend," however, and Zierlein would like to see more of a mean streak. He sees Okorafor going in the third round, but a mid-to-late second round landing spot is within reason for someone looking for a bookend.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 17 - 11:55 PM

An NFC North area scout believes that Western Michigan DB Darius Phillips will have to play the nickel as a pro.

"He's a pretty good man cover talent but he's just so soft against the run," he told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein. "He's a pure nickel who can play man or zone and he gets the ball so he's going to play." The "soft" connotation is one that no defender wants to hear, but there's a lot of positives to take from the report. Zierlein compares him to Charles Gaines, and believes he'll be drafted late on Day 3.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 16 - 9:25 PM

Western Michigan senior DT Steven Clark has been medically disqualified.

Clark (6'2/287) declined to offer specifics, but said that he would remain on scholarship with the Broncos even as his playing career is now drawing to a close. The defensive tackle initially landed at Western Michigan as a transfer last summer, coming over from Syracuse. That move was necessitated by the fact that Clark was medically disqualified by the Orange as well, due to a genetic disorder which increases the likelihood of blood clots. He was cleared for football activities following his transfer and went on to start 11 games for Western Michigan during the 2017 campaign, racking up 27 tackles along the way.
Apr 10 - 12:18 PM

Draft Wire's Luke Easterling lists Western Michigan T Chukwuma Okorafor as the most underrated T in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

Easterling also mentions North Carolina AT&T's Brandon Parker as an underrated player at the position. Okorafor was once considered a potential first-round pick, but his stock slipped due to some inconsistent play and also some other players just beating expectations in the 2017 season. Easterling is still a fan, and thinks his "slide" might be over exaggerated. "With starting experience at both tackle spots, Okorafor should be on the radar of any team that can be patient enough to develop him slowly and smooth out the rough edges in his game," he writes. Expect the 6-foot-6, 320-pound tackle to go at some point on Day 2.
Source: Draft Wire
Apr 9 - 10:55 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline called Western Michigan CB Darius Phillips a "big winner" from Wednesday's pro day.

Phillips (5'9/188) tested considerably faster than he did at the NFL Scouting Combine, putting in a sharp 40-yard dash in the range of 4.38 seconds and 4.43 seconds. This newfound need for speed was largely due to his recovery from an ankle injury which he had aggravated at the Senior Bowl. Pauline passes along that in addition to shoring up his testing marks, Phillips also looked terrific in defensive back and special teams drills. The Jets, Bengals and Bills were all keeping a watchful eye on the special teams portion of the equation. The Cardinals and 49ers -- as well as those aforementioned Bills -- interviewed Phillips during his pro day. DraftScout.com stamps the Western Michigan defender with a grade for Rounds 4-5.
Mar 22 - 7:07 PM

Western Michigan T Chukwuma Okorafor has visits scheduled with the Eagles and Redskins.

Okorafor will likely land on the second day of the draft. He locked down the left tackle spot for multiple seasons, even keeping Taylor Moton on the right side. Okorafor did not attend the Senior Bowl, so teams likely have work to do to complete their evaluations.
Mar 22 - 9:53 AM

Western Michigan hired Alabany DC/CB coach Nick Sanchez to serve as cornerbacks coacch.

Football Scoop reported in late February that Sanchez would be heading to Western Michigan. It wasn't known at the time what position group he'd be coaching, but he'll be working with the Broncos' corners upcoming. Sanchez had been with Albany for the previous three campaigns prior to accepting this role on staff under HC Tim Lester.
Mar 14 - 12:18 PM


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