Cullowhee, N.C. – A trio of former Western Carolina Catamount football players lace-up this week as NFL training camps across the nation get underway.
Keion Crossen returns with the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots as their camp gets underway at Gillette Stadium; Detrez Newsome is back in camp with the Los Angeles Chargers at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, Calif.; and the latest Catamount to join the professional ranks – punter Ian Berryman – is in training camp in Latrobe, Pa., with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft – WCU’s first since 1994 – Crossen made the roster with the Patriots out of training camp a year ago and later became just the fifth former Catamount to play in the sport’s biggest game – Super Bowl LIII. As a rookie, the Garysburg, N.C., native played in 11 games with 14 solo tackles for New England. At WCU, Crossen was a four-year letter winner on defense and special teams, starting 21 of his 46 career games with 165 total tackles, three interceptions and a combined 19 pass break-ups.
Entering his second professional training camp, former Catamount tailback Detrez Newsome looks to again make the 53-man roster. Signed as an undrafted free agent in late April 2018, Newsome made the roster after both a strong camp and preseason showing a year ago. Last season as a rookie in LA, Newsome played in nine games with 11 total rushes for 49 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He also caught two passes for 19 yards and was credited with three total tackles including two solo stops for the Chargers.
Newsome was one of the greatest all-purpose running backs in WCU history, finishing second in program history with 3,728 career rushing yards and 37 touchdowns, tied for the most in school history as a part of his school-record 46 career TDs. His 6,969 all-purpose yards rank tops in the program record books – second in the SoCon ledgers.
WCU’s all-time career punting average leader, Berryman signed as an undrafted free agent in late April following the 2019 NFL Draft. A three-time All-SoCon honoree and twice named All-America selection in 2017, Berryman finished his career with a 43.8 yard per punt average, tops in the school’s ledgers. Additionally, the Marietta, Ga., product holds three of WCU’s top five single-season punting averages with all four seasons ranking in the top 10 at the time of his graduation. Of his 206 career punts – fourth in school history – Berryman downed 82 of his kicks – or 40-percent – inside the opposition’s 20-yard line while booming 56 career punts of 50-or-more yards.
Western Carolina’s 2019 roster reports for fall camp on Thursday, Aug. 1 with the first of back-to-back days of helmet-only practices scheduled for Friday, Aug. 2. A complete fall camp schedule will be released in the coming days.
Season tickets for Western Carolina’s 2019 home schedule are on sale now through the Catamount Athletics ticket office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center, by phone at (800) 34-GOWCU, and online at CatamountSports.com.
Important Upcoming Dates in Catamount Athletics / Catamount Football:
Friday, July 26 – The Catamount Shootout Golf Tournament (rescheduled) at the Marion Lake Club
Thursday, August 1 – Catamount Football Student-Athletes Report for fall camp
Friday, August 2 – First scheduled practice of 2019 preseason (helmet only)
Wednesday, August 7 – Catamount football single-game tickets go on-sale
Friday, August 16 – Western Carolina University Freshman Move-In Day
Monday, August 19 – First day of classes for the fall semester
Friday, August 30 – the 15th Annual Bob Waters Memorial golf tournament at the Waynesville Inn – Golf Resort & Spa
Saturday, August 31 – 2019 Catamount Football season and home-opener vs. Mercer; postgame fireworks