Over the next two weeks prior to the kickoff of the 2019 football season, CatamountSports.com feature position-by-position previews of the 2019 Western Carolina football team. Each feature will contain the positional write-ups from the 2019 WCU Football Media Guide with video highlights from preseason fall camp.
Both season and single-game tickets for 2019 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, or online at CatamountSports.com. Lock-in your seat for all six exciting home dates with Catamount football season tickets today.
Tickets for the 2019 "Purple Out" opener against the Mercer Bears are going fast! WCU raises the curtain on 2019 in a big way with the pregame tailgating including the "Tailgate Town" (Ramsey Lot 9A) and a pregame concert by Joe Lasher, presented by Ingles; "Paws Playground" presented by Western Builder's just inside of Gate 1; the first on-field performance of the "Pride of the Mountains" Marching Band; the 9th-annual Freshmen Run; and capping the night will be a fireworks extravaganza, presented by Ingles and iHeartMedia partners, 99.9 Kiss Country and Star 104.3 FM.
The tight end position remains a big part of the Catamount offensive attack – and has arguably been the best among the arsenal of weapons at the disposal of QB Tyrie Adams over the past three seasons. Western Carolina returns two upperclassmen that have taken the bulk of the reps over the most recent seasons headlined by third-team All-America selection, junior Owen Cosenke and his senior counterpart Austin Phillips.
Though both Cosenke and Phillips play the same position, their roles within the high-powered Catamount offense are often very different. Whereas both will put their hand in the ground tucked tight on the end of the off offensive line, Cosenke has shown the propensity to stretch the field with his length and speed leading to him being split out wide in creating match-up problems for opposing defenses.
Having collected All-America honors after both of his first two seasons – Phil Steele Freshman All-America in 2017 and third-team AP honors last fall – Cosenke enters his third season with 32 career catches for 343 yards – over 10 yards per reception – and nine touchdowns, averaging a score every 3.6 times he touches the football.
Phillips has reveled in his role within the offensive unit. Though listed as a tight end, he has been used solidly in the Catamount running game as the spread formation is void of the traditional lead-blocking fullback. The bulkier of the two returning tight ends, he has posted two touchdowns among his six career receptions while also remaining a big part of the special teams units.
Behind the returning tandem of Cosenke and Phillips is a trio of capable back-ups who could see an increased role in 2019. Redshirt junior Caleb Woodard is an upperclassman with good size and strength who is flanked by a pair of prototypical-sized redshirt freshmen playmakers, one who saw very limited action last season in taking advantage of the new redshirt rules while the other did not see the field. Woodard looks to be more the fullback of the three at 6-0, 230-lbs., who prepped at the run-heavy 1-A Western North Carolina powerhouse, Swain County High. Clayton Bardall (Cumming, Ga. / North Forsyth HS) played on special teams primarily in two games while Luke Britt (Calypso, N.C. / North Duplin HS) did not see game action. Bardall is listed at 6-3 and Britt at 6-6 giving the Catamounts a couple of sizeable targets at tight end for the future.
The versatile Luke Hoggard has also seen time during 2019 preseason fall camp at tight end and running back. The athletic transfer from North Carolina is able to fill a variety of roles, including long-snapper on special teams.
Much like the WCU running backs, the tight ends will also work with returning offensive-minded assistant coach Arketa Banks as their new position coach in 2019.
ADDITIONAL TIGHT END NOTES:
• The tight end position accounted for nine of Western Carolina’s 22 receiving scores in 2018 including a team-best eight by Owen Cosenke … Combined, tight ends recorded 270 receiving yards on 24 catches in 2018, averaging just over 11 yards per reception.
Previous 2019 WCU Football Position Previews: