Cullowhee, N.C. – As students at Western Carolina wrap-up the first full week of the 2019 fall semester, the object growing larger in the on the horizon is the highly-anticipated opener to the Catamount football season as Southern Conference foe, Mercer, comes to E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field next Saturday, August 31.

The Labor Day weekend showdown marks just the third time in program history that a conference opponent raises the curtain on the season – and the first since 1986 when the Catamounts traveled to archrival Appalachian State on Aug. 30. WCU also squared-off against VMI in a season and SoCon-opener in Cullowhee to open the 1980 season.

WCU looks to avenge last year’s road loss the Bears in a game that saw the two teams combine for 105 points including an explosive 48-point second quarter. WCU amassed 710 of the game’s 1,282 total yards in dropping its third-straight in the series after claiming back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015.

Both single-game and season tickets for all six home dates in 2019 are on sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center or by phone at (800)34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401. Fans can also purchase season tickets online by visiting Tickets for the home and season-opener against Mercer – the “Purple Out” that includes postgame fireworks presented by Ingles and iHeartMedia partners 99.9 Kiss Country and Star 104.3 FM – are going fast!

Up next in this year’s preseason "Get to Know" features Devarius Cortner, a senior defensive back from Nashville, Tenn. A vocal senior leader on the field, Cortner has played in 29 career games with 32 total tackles including 15 solo stops. He posted a career-best 11 tackles in last year’s season-opener with eight solo tackles.


Name: Devarius Cortner

Major: Finance



What is your nickname?

Cortner: DC


What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Cortner: Cookies & Cream


What is your favorite animal at the zoo?

Cortner: Lion


Which team do you pick in Madden?

Cortner: Tennessee Titans


What is your favorite off-season activity?

Cortner: Resting.


If you were a superhero, what powers would you want?

Cortner: Teleportation.


What is your favorite holiday?

Cortner: Thanksgiving.


Which teammate makes you laugh the most?

Cortner: Michael Murphy.


What celebrity would you most like to meet?

Cortner: Lebron James.


What three words or phrases would your teammates use to describe you as a person?

Cortner: Hard-worker, leader, laid-back.


What motivates you to work hard?

Cortner: My family.


What is something you always love doing even when you are tired or rushed?

Cortner: Sleep; I barely get any.


Who is the most important person in your life?

Cortner: God.


As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Cortner: NFL Player.


What is the best advice you were ever given?

Cortner: “Control what you can control.”


What position do you play – and what is the one key thing to know about playing that position?

Cortner: Safety – know your strengths and weaknesses.


If you weren’t playing football, what sport would you have played in college?

Cortner: Baseball.


One major goal for the 2019 football season?

Cortner: Make a difference both on and off the field.


What made you choose Western Carolina University?

Cortner: The people; made it feel like home.


What’s been your favorite class at WCU?

Cortner: Hospitality & Tourism.


What’s your favorite part about being a student-athlete at Western Carolina?

Cortner: Making a difference in the community.


What’s the most challenging thing about being a student-athlete at Western Carolina?

Cortner: Time-management.


What is your favorite thing about home games in Cullowhee?

Cortner: The atmosphere.


What does #CatamountCountry mean to you?

Cortner: It means a family.


What is your favorite quote or saying from WCU head football coach Mark Speir?

Cortner: “Don’t grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9


What does it mean to play in front of a large home-game crowd in Cullowhee?

Cortner: It’s an awesome feeling to know that you have fans rooting for you.


What has been your favorite athletics moment at Western Carolina?

Cortner: My first collegiate start against Newberry.


What will you miss MOST about being a Catamount student-athlete?

Cortner: The people that I built bonds with during my time here.


What does your athletic scholarship mean to you?

Cortner: It means a lot because I’ve been given an opportunity.


What message would you like to send to the Catamount Nation?

Cortner: Lookout this year; great things are about to happen!