Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina senior football team captains Ian Berryman and Zach Weeks were among 47 student-athletes nationwide selected to the 2018 Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic All-Star Team. The 21st annual team was selected from a pool of nearly 100 applicants.

This year marks the seventh year that a Catamount football player has earned the FCS ADA Academic All-Star designation. It is also just the second time WCU received two selections in the same year. Berryman becomes just the second WCU student-athlete to receive the prestigious honor more than once, joining former offensive lineman Jason Whaley who was honored back in 2002 and 2003.

WCU was one of 12 schools nationwide with two players honored. The pair of Catamount selections were among four from the Southern Conference with both Berryman and Weeks joined by Furman senior QB Harris Roberts and Wofford junior OL Blake Jeresaty.

"One of the most important responsibilities that the FCS ADA has is the selection of the Annual Academic All-Star Team," stated current FCS ADA President Bill Smith, director of athletics at Bryant University. "This group of young men are some of the best and brightest football players and scholars in the country. They have been leaders on their individual campuses and have excelled in the classroom, their communities and on the gridiron. They truly exemplify FCS football and now we have the honor of naming them to the 2018 Academic All-Star Team."

Berryman closed his Catamount career by becoming the program’s all-time leader in punting average at 43.8 yards per punt, breaking the previous school benchmark of 42.8 yards per kick that had stood for 20 years. His 206 career punts ranked him tied for fourth in WCU history, downing an impressive 82 of his kicks inside the opposition’s 20-yard line – representing 40-percent of his kicks – while 56 of his punts traveling 50+ yards.

In 2018, Berryman had 38 punts for an average of 41.4 yards with 16 downed inside the opposition’s 20-yard line with six boots of 50 yards or longer. A native of Marietta, Ga., Berryman also threw a 5-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal at Mercer in late October – a highlight that was used in ESPN's NCAA FCS Post-Season Selection Show seasonal highlight package.

A three-time All-Southern Conference selection and twice named All-America, Berryman boasted a cumulative grade point average of 3.551 while majoring in communication with a concentration in broadcasting. He is expected to be a four-time SoCon Academic Honor Roll recipient and to also receive Fall Academic All-SoCon for the third time when the league announces those honors in mid-January.

Over a four-year career, Weeks helped spearhead an offensive line that paved the way for four-consecutive 1,000-yard rushers – three-straight by Detrez Newsome to mark the first time in program history and the fourth by QB Tyrie Adams in 2018. Behind the Weeks-led line, Adams became just the 10th quarterback in NCAA FCS history to throw for over 2,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000 yards in the same season. A product of Bryson City, N.C., Weeks collected All-SoCon honors for a second-straight season playing mostly at center in anchoring the senior-laden offensive line.

Dubbed a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy awarded to the best scholar-athlete in the nation by the National Football Foundation (NFF), Weeks carried a cumulative grade point average of 3.646 while majoring in criminal justice with a minor in emergency & disaster management. He was also nominated for the CoSIDA Academic All-District honors. Already a four-time SoCon Academic Honor Roll recipient and three-time Fall Academic All-SoCon honoree, Weeks is expected to receive both recognition again for the 2018 season.

Football players from all FCS institutions are eligible for the award. Each of the nominees were required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate study and have been a starter or key player with legitimate athletics credentials. They must have reached their second year of athletics and academic standing at the nominated institution and have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominated institution. They must also have participated in 50 percent (50%) of the games played at their designated position.

A special Review Committee of FCS athletics directors was responsible for selecting the 2018 All-Star Team and FCS ADA Postgraduate Scholarship finalists. This year's Review Committee consisted of: Bill Smith, Bryant University (Chair); Nathan Pine, College of the Holy Cross; Kent Haslam, University of Montana; Ashley Robinson, Jackson State University; and Thorr Bjorn, University of Rhode Island.

The Patriot League placed a team-high eight student-athletes on the 2018 Academic All-Star Team followed closely by the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Colonial Athletic Association, which both tallied seven recipient


Western Carolina's FCS ADA All-Star Team Selections:
2018Ian Berryman, punter & Zach Weeks, offensive line

2017 - Ian Berryman, punter

2013 - Richard Sigmon, placekicker

2012 - Conner Orr, tight end & Rock Williams, linebacker

2003 - Jason Whaley, offensive line; Finalist for Division I ADA Postgraduate Scholarship

2002 - Jason Whaley, offensive line

2000 - Caesar Campana, wide receiver