Cullowhee, N.C. – Three Western Carolina football players were honored today as STATS FCS released its 2018 Preseason All-America teams. Redshirt senior punter Ian Berryman and senior defensive back Marvin Tillman both collected second-team accolades while redshirt senior offensive lineman Zach Weeks was a third-team preseason All-America honoree.
All told, 98 players from 56 schools across all 13 FCS conference plus independent North Dakota were recognized on Tuesday.
A first-team All-SoCon selection, Berryman adds the STATS FCS honor to a bevy of preseason accolades that includes first-team All-America by Athlon Sports and College Football America Yearbook and a second-team nod from HERO Sports. It’s the second-straight year that Berryman has graced the STATS FCS Preseason All-America team. Tillman, who likewise was a first-team All-SoCon choice, was also honored by HERO Sports on its preseason all-nation squad. Weeks adds the preseason All-America honor to a first-team All-SoCon tabulation.
Berryman ranked among the FCS national leaders in punting for a second-straight season in 2017, averaging 44.45 yards per kick on 58 total punts – the third-best single-season average in program history. Second among league punters in overall average, the Marietta, Ga., product finished last season fifth in the NCAA FCS, placing among the national top five for a second consecutive season. Berryman was a four-time All-America selection at the end of his redshirt junior year while also collecting FCS ADA Academic All-Star honors.
Entering his final season in Cullowhee, Berryman ranks eighth in WCU program history with 168 career punts including 50 of 50-or-more yards over the last three seasons. He has averaged 44.33 yards per punt, the top average in program history.
Tillman is coming off a season where he recorded a career-high 96 tackles over 10 games, ranking fourth in the SoCon with a 9.6 tackle per game average. He paced the league with five interceptions – the most by a Catamount defensive back since 2014 – in earning first-team All-SoCon postseason honors and second-team All-America plaudits from the American Football Coaches Association.
The Durham, N.C., native has played in 31 games over his first three seasons, and he has 203 career tackles entering his senior year including 110 solo stops with six career interceptions.
Weeks mirrored his first-team postseason All-SoCon plaudits from last season with a first-team nod in the 2018 preseason honors released last week. The offensive lineman from Bryson City, N.C., has been a part the unit that helped pave the way for three-straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons by tailback Detrez Newsome – a first in program history. Weeks has played in 33 games during his career with 32 appearances in the starting lineup.
WCU and Samford both tallied a league-best three selections on the preseason All-America squad with Wofford garnering two and The Citadel one to give the SoCon nine between the four teams. The Missouri Valley Football Conference gained the most All-America selections with 16, the Big Sky Conference was second with 15 and CAA Football was third with 14. Among schools, North Dakota State led the way with seven selections, FCS runner-up James Madison boasted five, and Sam Houston State, Weber State, and Youngstown State had four each.
Western Carolina’s football student-athletes report for the fall on Friday, Aug. 3 with the official start of team camp opening on Saturday, Aug. 4 with the first practice at Whitmire Stadium / Waters Field. The Catamounts open their 2018 campaign by hosting Newberry in Cullowhee as a part of a Labor Day weekend celebration. WCU looks to #WhiteOutWhitmire on Saturday, Sept. 1 with all fans encouraged to wear white to the game and the first 5,000 fans through the gates receiving a FREE white T-shirt. The game will conclude with a postgame fireworks extravaganza, presented by Ingles and iHeartRadio partners, 99.9 Kiss Country and Star 104.3.
Season tickets for all five home dates in 2018 are on-sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center, by phone toll-free at (800) 34-GOWCU or locally at (828) 227-2401, or purchase tickets online at CatamountSports.com. Fans are invited to join Catamount Club and current members are reminded to renew to take advantage of the many perks surrounding home football weekends.
General admission season tickets for adults begin at just $75 with additional Purple and Gold Reserved and options in the Western Builders Inc., Family Zone seating options also available. A limited number of chairback season tickets are still available priced at just $125 for adults and $65 for youth (ages 3-12).
Purchasing season tickets allow fans to lock-in their seats before single-game tickets for individual home games go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018.
Important Upcoming Dates in Catamount Athletics / Catamount Football:
Friday, August 3 -- Catamount Football Student-Athletes Report for fall camp
Saturday, Aug. 4 --
Tuesday, Aug. 7 – Catamount Football single-game tickets go on sale
Thursday, Aug. 9 – WCU Photo Day / Media Day (3:30 pm); Facebook LIVE with Mark Speir (6:30 pm)
Friday, Aug. 17 – Western Carolina University Freshman Move-In Day
Monday, Aug. 20 – First day of classes for the fall semester
Friday, August 31 – “The Mutt" Catamount Football Golf Classic at The Maggie Valley Club
Saturday, Sept. 1 – 2018 Catamount Football season and home-opener vs. Newberry -- Fireworks Night
Friday, Oct. 12 – 14th annual Bob Waters Memorial Golf Tournament at the Laurel Ridge Country Club
Saturday, Oct. 13 – Catamount Football vs. Chattanooga – Hall of Fame Day
Keep track of everything related to Catamount football and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports) and Twitter (@catamounts, @WCU_FB), as well as video updates on the department's YouTube channel (CatamountSports).