Former Alabama QB, FCS Lineman in Latest Transfers to Join WMU Football

KALAMAZOO, MI — The Western Michigan football team has been given commitments from a couple of transfers this week, and one of them is bringing a national championship ring.

Former Alabama quarterback Stone Hollenbach and former Virginia Military Institute defensive tackle Warren Dabney committed to the Broncos earlier this week, adding depth to a few positions that desperately needed it.

Hollenbach announced his transfer destination on Sunday via Twitter, and he joins a WMU quarterback room that currently has two scholarship players — red shirt freshman Jack Salopek and Mareyohn Hrabowski — plus freshman freshman Lucas Hartings.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 208 pounds on the Alabama roster, Hollenbach joined the Crimson Tide in 2019 as a walk-on about scholarship offers from Bucknell, Duquesne, New Hampshire, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, and St. francis .

Considered a two-star recruit, the native Catawissa, Pa., led Southern Columbia Area High School to three state title games, including championships in 2017 and 2018, completing his preliminary career completing 63 percent of his passes for 5,774 yards and 70 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.

Hollenbach was no slouch in Alabama, with eventual first-round NFL draft pick Mac Jones starting for him through the 2019 and 2020 seasons, the latter of which ended with a national championship win over Ohio State. Five-star recruit Bryce Young won the starting spot as a sophomore freshman in 2021 and took the Crimson Tide back to the title match, where they fell to Georgia.

With Young slated to return for at least one more season and four-star prospect Jalen Milroe earning shots as a true freshman in 2021, it was hard to see Hollenbach’s road to playing time in Tuscaloosa.

At WMU, Hollenbach will be eligible for three years and must compete with Salopek and Hrabowski to fill the shoes of Kaleb Eleby, who declared himself eligible for the upcoming NFL draft with two years of college football left.

Salopek, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder from Irwin, Pennsylvania, played his high school prom 200 miles west of Hollenbach at Norwin High School, where he set a school record for career yards (6,150), career touchdowns (40) and yards in a season (2,231).

According to the 247Sports Composite Index, according to the 247Sports Composite Index, Salopek didn’t see the field during his true freshman season in 2020, but played in two games in 2021 and completed all three. of his passes for 20 yards early in the second half against Pittsburgh, then went 1 of 3 in the fourth quarter against Ball State, although his 17-yard completion for Henry Wilson was negated by an illegal man downfield penalty.

Hrabowski saw action in four games during his real-life 2021 freshman season as a running quarterback who changes pace, winning 121 yards on 21 carries, including a 10-tote and 77-yard effort in the regular season finale against Northern Illinois.

He didn’t throw a pass for the Broncos, but flashed as a dual-threat quarterback at River Rouge High School, where he was considered a three-star recruit and led the Panthers to a couple of state title games, including a state championship win over Muskegon as a junior in 2019.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder was a three-year starter and two-time high school all-state quarterback, finishing his drafting career with more than 2,800 passing yards, 2,800 rushing yards and 83 total touchdowns.

In addition to helping the quarterback, WMU got a big boost to its internal defense line with the deployment of Dabney, who announced his transfer plans on Sunday. via Twitter.

The 6-foot-1, 300-pound defensive tackle will qualify for a year at Kalamazoo, after spending the last four seasons with VMI, where he started 40 games for the FCS program from Lexington, Virginia.

As a senior, Dabney scored 46 tackles (3.5 for loss), one sack and three quarterback rushes, and for his career he amassed 123 stops (10.5 for loss), six sacks, nine quarterback hurries, one fumble at recovery, an interception and two pass breakups.

The Cumberland, Virginia native is WMU’s second incoming defensive tackle transfer, joining Purdue’s Bryce Austin, who committed to the Broncos earlier this month.

The two newcomers should be battling for immediate playing time in a rotation of defensive tackles that bring back starter Braden Fiske but only one assisted tackle from the rest of WMU’s inside linemen.

The Broncos have now added four transfers during the off-season, with defending defender Anthony Romphf completing the group.

Assuming the spring ball isn’t disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Broncos must return to the practice field next month to prepare for the 2022 campaign, which kicks off on Saturday, September 3 in Michigan State.

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