A possible successor to Brandon Doughty could miss the entire 2016 season.
Western Kentucky announced Monday that quarterback Nelson Fishback will undergo surgery Tuesday on a torn pectoral muscle. The rising redshirt senior’s recovery time is “anticipated to be four to six months.” In a message posted to his Twitter account, Fishback said the injury will end his season.
In a press release, the program said Fishback was injured “during an offseason workout while home in California.”
Fishback was the primary backup in 2015 to Doughty, who set records during his career with the Hilltoppers. He was a favorite to land the starting role during preseason camp.
“This is extremely disappointing for Nelson. He has worked hard to put himself in this position and is a young man who does all of the things you would want out of your quarterback,” WKU head coach Jeff Brohm said. “Nelson has always been the kind of teammate you want to have inside and outside of the locker room.”
Fishback appeared in six games in 2015, but attempted only eight passes, completing seven for 70 yards. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior redshirted the 2014 campaign after arriving at WKU in 2013. He played in five games during his first year with the program, starting one, and completed 13-of-18 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for a touchdown in 2013.
Fishback began his career at Butte College, a community college in California.
With Fishback presumably lost for the season, WKU has four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, two of whom have FBS experience: Mike White and Tyler Ferguson. White started 15 games in two seasons at South Florida in 2013 and 2014, throwing for 2,722 yards, 11 touchdowns and 16 interceptions while completing 51.5 percent of his passes. He sat out the 2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules and has two years of eligibility.
Ferguson has had a few more stops on his college football journey. The California native started his career at the junior college level before signing with Penn State. Ferguson completed 10-of-15 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown as the backup to Christian Hackenberg in 2013 and opted to transfer after that season. He initially planned to transfer to WKU from PSU, but landed at Louisville instead when Bobby Petrino left the Hilltoppers for his second stint as Cardinals head coach.
Ferguson redshirted the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules and didn’t see any action in 2015 as he fell toward the bottom of a crowded Louisville depth chart.
Ferguson’s relationship with Brohm (then WKU’s offensive coordinator) remained from two years prior, so he decided to play his final year of college ball for the Hilltoppers.
WKU also has redshirt sophomore Drew Eckels (one career appearance) and true freshman Steven Duncan, a two-star recruit, on the roster.
Western Kentucky went 12-12 and won the Conference USA title in 2015.
For more Western Kentucky news, InsideHilltopperSports.com.
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