Spartanburg, S.C. – Headlined by redshirt senior quarterback Tyrie Adams collecting the 2019 Southern Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honor, three Western Carolina football players landed on the coaches’ preseason All-SoCon team as the league released its preseason polls and all-conference teams Monday during its annual Football Media Day at the Spartanburg Marriott.

In addition to earning the league’s top offensive accolade, Adams was dubbed first-team All-SoCon at quarterback where he was joined by one of his top targets in junior tight end Owen Cosenke on the first team. Second-year defensive back Ronald Kent Jr., likewise tallied first-team All-SoCon plaudits in the secondary.

As a team, Western Carolina was picked to finish eighth in both the coaches and media polls, the lowest preseason prediction for the Catamounts since being pegged ninth back in 2013. The top three in both polls were identical with Wofford picked to win the league crown followed by Furman and ETSU. The latter half of the poll also mirrored each other with Samford in sixth followed by The Citadel, WCU, and VMI. The only difference came in fourth and fifth between Chattanooga and Mercer swapping the two positions respectively between the coaches and media.

Adams, dubbed a 2019 preseason FCS All-American by HERO Sports in early June, is a two-time postseason second-team All-SoCon selection and was a finalist for the 2019 Walter Payton Award handed out by STATS FCS, finishing 19th nationally in the final voting. Last year, Adams became just one of 11 NCAA FCS quarterbacks all-time to throw for 2,000-or-more yards while also rushing for 1,000-plus yards in the same season, finishing the season with 2,417 yards passing and a SoCon-leading 1,006 yards on the ground. For his efforts, he was dubbed second-team All-America by STATS FCS and third-team by HERO Sports, both coming as an all-purpose back.

A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Adams enters his final season in a position to shatter many of WCU’s all-time career offensive records. Already with the program’s all-time passing touchdown record of 53 – ninth in the SoCon record books – Adams is poised to eclipse two additional school benchmarks early in 2019. With 9,389 yards of total offense, Adams is just nine yards of breaking Troy Mitchell’s record set in 2015 and is just 75 passing yards in arrears of his predecessor’s school-record of 7,354 career passing yards. Adams is also just 100 rushing yards shy of the school’s all-time top 10 list entering 2019.

A third-team postseason All-America selection by the Associated Press last year and a first-team All-SoCon honoree, Cosenke collected preseason first-team honors on Monday. He hauled in 23 passes for a team-best eight receiving touchdowns a season ago – the most-ever by a WCU tight end that also ranked him third in the SoCon in TD receptions. A native of Aldie, Va., Cosenke has nine career receiving scores among 32 career catches entering his junior season in WCU’s high-powered offense.

Kent earned SoCon All-Freshman team honors and was a two-time Freshman All-America selection by Phil Steele and HERO Sports after gracing the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award watch list at midseason. He finished sixth on the team a year ago, with 45 total tackles including 31 solo stops. Equally as impressive, the Harrisburg, Pa., native ranked second in the SoCon with a team-best 12 pass break-ups – the sixth-most in WCU’s single-season record books and the most by a Catamount since 2002.

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 Three different seat types – reserved chair back, bench back reserved, and traditional stadium bleacher – options are available for the six home dates at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field with season ticket prices beginning at $90 for an adult general admission and $55 for a youth bleacher seat.

WCU’s football student-athletes officially report for fall camp on Thursday, August 1 with preseason drills opening with the first of two helmet-only practices on Friday, August 2. The 2019 season opens with a Labor Day weekend meeting with SoCon-foe, the Mercer Bears, on Saturday, August 31 in Cullowhee with postgame fireworks to again illuminate the western North Carolina sky following the opener. All fans are encouraged to wear purple for the season-opening “Purple Out” at Whitmire Stadium. WCU’s postgame fireworks extravaganza is presented by Ingles and iHeartRadio partners, 99.9 FM Kiss Country and Star 104.3.

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 312019 Catamount Football season and home-opener vs. Mercer; postgame fireworks

2019 Preseason All-Southern Conference Team

First Team Offense

QB          Tyrie Adams, R-Sr., Western Carolina

RB           Quay Holmes, R-So., ETSU

RB           Tyray Devezin, Jr., Mercer

OL           Bo Layton, R-Jr., Furman

OL           Austin Sanders, R-Sr., Mercer

OL           Nick Nixon, Sr., Samford

OL           Justus Basinger, Sr., Wofford

OL           Michael Ralph, Sr., Wofford

TE           Owen Cosenke, Jr., Western Carolina

WR         Bryce Nunnelly, Jr., Chattanooga

WR         Javeon Lara, Sr., VMI

First Team Defense

DL           Joseph Randolph II, Sr., The Citadel

DL           Jason Maduafokwa, R-Sr., ETSU

DL           Nasir Player, R-Sr., ETSU

DL           Thad Mangum, Sr., Wofford

LB           Willie Eubanks III, Jr., The Citadel

LB           Adrian Hope, R-So., Furman

LB           Marshall Cooper, Sr., Chattanooga

DB          Tyree Robinson, Jr., ETSU

DB          Brandon Dowdell, Jr., Chattanooga

DB          Jerrell Lawson, R-Jr., Chattanooga

DB          A.J. Smith, Jr., VMI

DB          Ronald Kent Jr., So., Western Carolina

First Team Specialists

PK           Grayson Atkins, Jr., Furman

PK           Mitchell Fineran, So., Samford

P             Matthew Campbell, So., The Citadel

RS           David Durden, So., Mercer

Second Team Offense

QB          Reece Udinski, Jr., VMI

RB           Devin Wynn, Jr., Furman

RB           Tyrell Price, Sr., Chattanooga

OL           Haden Haas, R-So., The Citadel

OL           Drew McEntyre, Sr., The Citadel

OL           Ben Blackmon, R-Sr., ETSU

OL           Tre’mond Shorts, R-So., ETSU

OL           Andy Godwin, R-Sr., Furman

OL           Cole Strange, R-Jr., Chattanooga

OL           Blake Jeresaty, Jr., Wofford

TE           Chris Ellington, Sr., Mercer

WR         Thomas Gordon, Sr., Furman

WR         David Durden, So., Mercer

Second Team Defense

DL           Dorian Kithcart, R-Sr., Mercer

DL           Justin Foster, Sr., Samford

DL           Nelson Jordan, So., Samford

DL           Mikel Horton, Jr., Wofford

LB           Elijah McKoy, Jr., Furman

LB           Will Coneway, R-Sr., Mercer

LB           Jireh Wilson, Sr., Wofford

DB          Jeremy Lewis, Sr., ETSU

DB          Malique Fleming, R-Jr., Mercer

DB          Mason Alstatt, Sr., Wofford

DB          George Gbesee, Sr., Wofford

Second Team Specialists

PK           Jacob Godek, Sr., The Citadel

P             Luke Carter, Sr., Wofford

RS           Rohan Martin, Sr., VMI

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Tyrie Adams, R-Sr., QB, Western Carolina

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Nasir Player, Sr., DL, ETSU

Preseason polls


#     Team (first-place)   Points

1.    Wofford (7)                63

2.    Furman (1)                  55

3.    ETSU (1)                       44

4.    Chattanooga              40

5.    Mercer                         34

6.    Samford                       33

7.    The Citadel                 22

8.    Western Carolina     21

9.    VMI                               12

* Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams


#     Team (first-place)   Points

1.    Wofford (21)              253

2.    Furman (6)                  229

3.    ETSU (2)                       187

4.    Mercer                         146

5.    Chattanooga              134

6.    Samford                       125

7.    The Citadel                 111

8.    Western Carolina     88

9.    VMI                               32