Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina freshman DB Ronald Kent Jr. collected his second Freshman All-America honors following the 2018 season, landing on Phil Steele’s 2018 FCS Freshman All-America team, selected and released by Phil Steele Magazine.
It is the second consecutive year that WCU has had a Freshman All-America selection from the Phil Steele Magazine as TE Owen Cosenke earned the nod a year ago. It also marks the second postseason Freshman All-America honor for Kent who was also dubbed first-team by HERO Sports back in mid-December.
A product of Harrisburg, Pa., Kent closed his rookie campaign with 45 combined tackles (4.1 tackles per game) from his cornerback position including 31 solo stops and five tackles for loss while also being credited with a forced fumble. He was selected to the postseason Southern Conference All-Freshman team by the league’s head coaches after finishing the regular season ranked second in the league with a team-best 12 pass break-ups – a mark that ranked the rookie tied for sixth in WCU’s single-season record books. It marked the first time a Catamount defender hit double-digit passes defended since Trey Morgan recorded 10 back in 2016. Kent’s 12 PBUs are the most by a Catamount since Ahmed Green had 12 back in 2002.
With his on-field play, Kent graced the watch list as a semifinalist for the Jerry Rice Award which is given annually by STATS FCS to the top freshman player nationally.
All told, the SoCon landed 16 combined freshmen on the FCS Freshman All-America first through third teams including six on offense, nine on defense, and one on special teams. Both The Citadel and VMI had four selections apiece with ETSU and Furman garnering two. WCU, Chattanooga, Furman, Mercer, and Samford each had one selection to one of the three all-rookie teams.
The Phil Steele publication also announced its 2018 All-Southern Conference team that included nine Catamounts in 10 different selections. Redshirt sophomore TE Owen Cosenke (first team), QB Tyrie Adams (second team), OL Zach Weeks (second team), and WR Daquan Patten (second team) were each selected to the Phil Steele All-SoCon teams on offense. Patten also earned a third team nod as a punt returner on special teams.
Defensively, LB Mitchell Chancey (first team) and DB Marvin Tillman (first team) headlined WCU’s selections with DL Solomon Clark (third team), LB Michael Murphy (third team), and Ronald Kent Jr. (third team) also earning recognition.