Redshirt freshman Jalen Buckley was not a household name when Western Michigan’s season kicked off against St. Francis (PA) earlier this year, but as the conference season blooms, he has established himself has one of the MAC’s best backs.
On Wednesday afternoon, Buckley was named to the Football Writers of America’s Mid-Season Freshman All-American watch list, putting him on the national radar. Buckley was one of five running backs (and 62 overall players) to be named by the FWAA for consideration.
Buckley, a native of Aurora, Illinois, currently sits at second in the MAC in rushing yards despite missing a game, with 618 yards and five touchdowns on 108 carries, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Buckley won MAC West Co-offensive Player of the Week honors in Week 1 after running for 194 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries in his full-time debut against SFU.
Buckley’s 103 average rushing yards per game trails only Toledo’s Peny Boone (113 yards) and ranks at 14th in the NCAA. Perhaps the most impressive part is his ability to run through contact; Buckley has lost just one yard total through six games played.
The FWAA will unveil their Freshman All-American team and Freshman Player of the Year at an awards ceremony in January 2024.