Western Kentucky QB Doughty and "God-given arm" eyeing NFL

MIAMI (AP) Brandon Doughty's left arm is covered in tattoos. The skin on his right arm remains pristine.

There's a simple reason for that.

''I would never touch this arm like that,'' Doughty said after his right arm unleashed a 461-yard, three-touchdown effort to carry Western Kentucky to a win over South Florida in the Miami Beach Bowl on Monday - the final game of his six-year collegiate career.

''It's God-given.''

Doughty isn't shy when it comes to talking about faith, and Western Kentucky has long professed to having unflappable faith in him as well. No one at the FBS level ever threw for more touchdowns in a two-year span than the 97 that Doughty piled up in 2014 and 2015, numbers that surely got him on some NFL draft boards.

Over the coming weeks and months, he'll do all he can to further pique some interest.

''I've been working my butt off for this,'' said Doughty, from Davie, Florida. ''It's my dream. I remember when I was in the backyard, I was 5 years old, I was Dan Marino and thinking, `Oh, man, I hope I get to play in the NFL.' It's just a dream and for it to be a reality, something that's very realistic, I'm honored.''

There will be skeptics, which is understandable since many others who posted monster college numbers in pass-happy offenses - like Tim Couch, David Klingler, Case Keenum, Tim Rattay, Colt Brennan, Graham Harrell and B.J. Symons - have done little to nothing at the NFL level.

Doughty, his advocates say, will be different. They point to both his numbers - nearly 13,000 yards in all at the college level, with a 5,000-yard season to cap his time at WKU - and his character as reasons why.

''There's no reason you shouldn't draft Brandon Doughty to be your quarterback,'' WKU coach Jeff Brohm said. ''For two years in a row, he's played at a high level. He's put up really big numbers. He's played against good opponents. ... What you're going to get from him, as opposed to some other quarterbacks out there, is consistency.''

Doughty redshirted his freshman season in 2010, played sparingly in 2011 and 2012 in large part because of injuries (and eventually got a sixth year of eligibility because of that), then took over as the full-fledged starter in 2013. His numbers weren't exactly eye-catching that year - 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, though he did complete 66 percent of his passes.

Brohm took over as WKU's head coach going into 2014, and the Hilltoppers starting throwing like mad. Doughty completed 68 percent of his passes and threw for 49 touchdowns last season, then connected on 72 percent of his throws and tacked on 48 more touchdowns this season. In Doughty's last 19 games, Western Kentucky went 17-2.

''Brandon is such a great young man, one of the ultimate competitors and has a bright future,'' USF coach Willie Taggart said. ''He is the rock of their football team.''

Taggart would know. He helped lure Doughty to Western Kentucky six years ago, when he was taking over as the head coach there. Doughty also had a relationship with Brohm at the time, and originally committed to Florida Atlantic - where Brohm was offensive coordinator under Howard Schnellenberger. When Brohm left FAU, that forced Doughty to re-open his college search, and WKU landed him.

''We knew when he came in as a freshman that he had something to him,'' Taggart said.

After Brohm went to WKU, installed a super-high-octane offense and handed Doughty the keys, that something that Taggart spoke of started going on full display on just about every Saturday in the fall.

Doughty topped 300 yards in 20 of his final 27 games and went over 400 yards in 10 of them. Brohm's offense got Doughty attention, but the quarterback never forgot that Taggart gave him opportunity.

''A lot of teams didn't give me a chance,'' Doughty said. ''A lot of colleges didn't give me a chance. He took a risk on me. I thank him for it.''

Doughty wrapped that tattoo-covered left arm around Taggart one last time before leaving the field Monday, the arm that includes the words ''Carpe Diem'' - the Latin phrase meaning ''seize the day'' - on the back of his wrist.

He's seized every chance he's had so far and hopes the biggest chance is yet to come.