Garden City, KS-The last Broncbuster to win the NJCAA rushing title before this season was Dwayne Crutchfield in 1979. Nearly 40 years later, Charles West accomplished the rare feat, earning All-American honors along the way.
On Tuesday, West was named a second-team All-American, offensive lineman Bamidele Olaseni garnered first-team honors, running back Dedrick Mills was an honorable mention as was offensive lineman Howard Watkins.
Olaseni was a key cog on an offensive line that paved the way for the nation’s best rushing attack. It was the first time since 1994 that Garden City finished No. 1 in rushing yards. The four-star right tackle, has 12 offers from Power-five conferences including Auburn, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Ole Miss. Once deemed a project by some scouting services after moving to the United States from London, England, Olaseni turned himself into one of the premier lineman in Junior College football.
Watkins, who transferred from Illinois last season, helped form one of the best offensive lines in the country. As the starting center, the sophomore was named to the All-Jayhawk Conference first team. He started 10 out of 11 games, fighting off a leg injury late in the season.
For West, his final season in Garden City was by far his best. He finished with 1,492 rushing yards , the seventh best single-season mark in school history. The Coppel, TX native posted two 200-yard games and hit the century mark nine times in 10 games. His best effort was Sept. 29 at Fort Scott when he tore through the Greyhounds for 237 yards and three touchdowns. But his best moment may have come in the title game vs. East Mississippi where West ran for 110 yards against one of the best defenses in the country. He finished his sophomore season with nine rushing touchdowns and averaged nearly six yards per carry.
Despite falling a point shy of winning their second national title in three years, the 2018 season will go down as one of the more memorable ones in program history. Never before has a Junior College team trotted out two game-changing backs like West, and his backfield mate Dedrick Mills. The Georgia-Tech transfer finished fourth in the NJCAA in rushing with 1,358 yards and was first in touchdowns despite being hampered by a late-season ankle injury. He had a career-best 267 yards on opening night vs. Dodge City; then torched Coffeyville for 262 and four scores on Oct. 27. Mills, who has already committed to Nebraska, had two or more touchdowns six times and finished third in the country with 236 carries.