Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina’s all-time leading punter Ian Berryman signed as an undrafted free agent (UDFA) with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night following the 2019 NFL Draft. Berryman’s signing was confirmed through a release through Steelers.com as he was one of 10 the squad agreed to terms with after the draft concluded.
Berryman is just the third former Catamount to ever be signed by the Steelers organization. He joins DB Willie Williams (1990-92) who played from 1993-96 with Pittsburgh after being drafted by the club in the sixth round in 1993 before returning to finish his professional career with the squad in 2004-05. Also, former WCU DL Jeff Bradley (2005-08) signed as a UDFA with the Steelers following the 2009 NFL Draft.
Additionally, Berryman joins a pair of former Catamount teammates in NFL camps including DB Keion Crossen (2014-17), a Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots last season, and RB Detrez Newsome (2014-17) who finished his rookie with the Los Angeles Chargers after signing as a UDFA last spring. Berryman is the fifth Catamount player in recent years with a chance to make a NFL roster joining DL Helva Matungulu (2013-15), who signed as a UDFA with the New York Jets in 2016, and DB Ace Clark (2011-14) who garnered an invite to the Seattle Seahawks mini-camp.
A two-time All-America selection in 2017, Berryman finished his four-year playing career as the all-time leader in punting average in Cullowhee at 43.8 yards per kick, eclipsing the 20-year old mark of former All-America kicker/punter Ken Hinsley (42.8 yds/punt, 1995-98). Berryman became just the seventh different punter to lead the Catamounts in seasonal punting average for four-consecutive seasons dating back to 1969 – and the first since Blake Cain (2008-2011). Three of his individual season averages rank inside the top five in program history including his 44.90 yard per kick mark in 2016 which stands as the best in Catamount history.
Berryman’s 206 career punts tied him for fourth in the school record book, matching Anthony Bare (206, 1986-89), downing an impressive 82 of his kicks – or 40-percent – inside the opposition’s 20-yard line. A three-time All-Southern Conference selection, he also boomed 56 career punts 50-or-more yards.
Though official dates have yet to be released, training camp for the 2019 season should commence in late July ahead of the early August preseason.