IN THE CROSSHAIRS: KWU’s Preston McCorkle

Kansas Wesleyan running back Preston McCorkle is having another great season. Saturday, No. 7-ranked Friends and the top-ranked rushing defense in the KCAC will get a chance at shutting him down … with only No. 18 Bethel having held McCorkle under 100 yards this season when he ran for 61 yards in a season-opening loss. Mccorkle has run for 629 yards for 3-2 KWU this year and four touchdowns after finishing tied for the KCAC rushing title last season with Friends’ Trey Hightower at 1,014 yards. That they both ended up with that number is crazy to me. Almost as crazy as Hightower not returning to use up his last year of eligibility.

We put McCorkle in the crosshairs:

MCCORKLE

MCCORKLE

PRESTON MCCORKLE ** 6-foot-1, 225 pounds ** SR. ** Stratton, Colo.

1. He’s almost from Kansas … but not really

McCorkle won a Class A 8-man state championship at Stratton (Co.) High School, just 30 miles West of the Kansas border. Any time I see somebody from an 8-man school doing it big on the college scene — I don’t care what level — it lets me know what kind of a player they are. My favorite 8-man player of all-time in Kansas? Got to be Argonia’s Bo Boatright, who was an All-Jayhawk tight end at Coffeyville then went on to play for Arkansas State. Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam (for Colorado, ironically) was also an 8-man guy. I drive through Stratton on my way to see family in the Denver area a couple of times a year … if he makes All-American can he get a sign up or something? In a town of 669 people, I don’t see why not.

2. Gang tackle

McCorkle has 120 carries this year, 35 more than the next most, Bethel’s Beau Cox at 85 carries. And he leads the KCAC in rushing by almost 300 yards. He’s 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, so he’s hard to tackle and he gets the ball a lot. He’s taking a pounding, no doubt, but for sure he’s also dishing it out. And it’s not like he’s not used to it … he led the KCAC with 229 carries last season.

3. His back is against the wall

To have an outside shot at the NAIA playoffs or a KCAC title, the Coyotes have to beat Friends. They’re the hard-luck Coyotes so far this season, with both of their losses coming to ranked opponents (No. 18 Bethel & No. 24 Ottawa), and both by a combined 13 points. A win over the Falcons on Saturday in Salina could save the season for KWU.